Christian Widow of Slain Yemen Hostage South African Pierre Korkie Forgives Killers

( [email protected] ) Dec 09, 2014 02:49 PM EST
Yolande Korkie
Yolande Korkie, pictured with her two children. Photo: CONRAD BORNMAN/

The Christian wife of a South African hostage killed by an Islamic militant in a failed rescue operation of an American in Yemen has said that she forgives those responsible for his death.

Yolande Korkie, wife of Pierre Korkie, said "we choose to let it go," as accusations and anger would not bring back her husband, who was killed by militants on Saturday along with American hostage Luke Somers, according to NBC News.

U.S. officials said they carried out the rescue mission by special forces because Islamic terrorist group al-Qaida had threatened to kill Somers, and that they were unaware that the American and the South African were being held together.

"What will it help to accuse? What will it help to find out what happened?" said Yolande Korkie, supported by her two children.  "Will it bring Pierre back? Never."

Gift of the Givers, a South African aid group that was negotiating for Pierre Korkie's release, has said his freedom had been "extremely close" under a deal struck with al-Qaida mere hours before his death.

"His passport was ready, everything was ready," Anas Hamati, Gift of the Givers' project director for Yemen told the BBC's Newshour. "In that time, the attack happened by US special forces in Yemen and that has destroyed everything."

However, the charity's head, Imtiaz Sooliman, said Yolande refused to apportion blame. "She's not even angry with al-Qaida. She's a very peaceful type of person and says whatever happens is God's will.

Pierre Korkie
Pierre Korkie was working as a teacher in Yemen when he was captured by Islamic militants.

Pierre Korkie's body was returned to South Africa on Monday and a funeral service was scheduled later in the week.

Pierre and Yolande were seized by al-Qaida in May 2013, according to the Associated Press. Along with their two children, the devout Christian couple had been in Yemen for four years where he worked as a teacher and she did relief work. Yolande was released without ransom in January after negotiations conducted by Gift of the Givers.

Yolande said her children never had a chance to say goodbye to their father,who was very sick when they held each other for the last time.

"He said, 'I love you and tell the children I love them'" she said.

Adding that her Pierre would want her to forgive those responsible for his death, Yolande said her husband will forever live on in his family's hearts.

"This morning, there was intense emotions of longing. We will never have him physically again but in our hearts he will never die."