Yolande Korkie, a former hostage and widow of Pierre Korkie, called her husband an innocent man.
Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images
Yolande Korkie, a former hostage and widow of Pierre Korkie, called her husband an innocent man.

Story highlights

AID organization posted videos from his wife prior to his death

Yolande Korkie said her husband was a "respected teacher"

South African media reported the couple had worked in Yemen for four years

They were kidnapped in 2013; she was freed in January

CNN —  

Pierre Korkie, the South African man who was killed during a U.S. Special Operations Forces raid in Yemen on Friday, was a “respected teacher” who served the poor, according to videos made by his widow before his death.

In the videos, posted by the nongovernmental organization Gift of the Givers, Yolande Korkie pleaded for the release of her husband.

He was an “innocent man, a respected teacher,” she said in one.

Gift of the Givers said it had negotiated Pierre Korkie’s release and he was to be set free on Sunday.

“Three days ago we told her ‘Pierre will be home for Christmas.’ We certainly did not mean it in the manner it has unfolded,” the group said in a statement posted to its website.

Korkie and American photojournalist Luke Somers were fatally shot in an al Qaeda compound by a terrorist as a secret mission to rescue the hostages unfolded, a U.S. official told CNN.

Pierre and Yolande Korkie were kidnapped in Taiz province in May of last year while on their way back to South Africa for the funeral of Pierre Korkie’s father.

AQAP freed Yolande Korkie in January after negotiations with Gift of the Givers, the group said on its site.

Yolande Korkie had not heard from her husband since her release and their two children hadn’t listened to his voice in the past 18 months.

The official SAPA news agency reported in January that Pierre and Yolande Korkie had been married for 20 years. While Pierre taught in Yemen, Yolande worked in hospitals doing relief work. The couple had lived in Yemen for four years, SAPA said.