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SA, US hostages killed in Yemen

SA, US hostages killed in Yemen
An American photojournalist and a South African aid worker held by al-Qaida militants in Yemen have been killed in a failed US rescue attempt, authorities said on Saturday. Speaking in Afghanistan, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel said Somers “and a second non-US citizen hostage were murdered” by al-Qaida militants during the raid.

The aid group Gift of Givers later identified the second hostage as South African teacher Pierre Korkie, who the group said was to be released Sunday. They said he was to be flown out of Yemen “under diplomatic cover, then to meet with family members in a ‘safe’ country, (and) fly to South Africa.”

Hagel did not identify Korkie by name. “On Friday by the order of the president of the United States, US special operations forces conducted a mission in Yemen to rescue a US citizen Luke Somers and any other foreign nationals held hostage with him. There were compelling reasons to believe Somers’ life was in imminent danger,” Hagel said.

Lucy Somers told AP she and her father learned of her 33-year-old brother Luke Somers’ death from FBI agents at 0500 GMT (12 a.m. EST) on Saturday. “We ask that all of Luke’s family members be allowed to mourn in peace,” Lucy Somers said from London. There was no immediate comment from security officials in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

Yemen’s local al-Qaida branch, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, posted a video on Thursday that showed Somers, threatening to kill him in three days if the United States didn’t meet the group’s demands, which weren’t specified. He was kidnapped in September 2013 from Sanaa.
Agencies

Agencies

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