S. Africa widow forgives husband’s killers

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa ,AFP and AP

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa–The wife of a South African hostage who, according to American officials, was killed by a militant during an attempted rescue operation in Yemen said Tuesday that she forgives those who are responsible for his death.

Speaking softly and battling tears, the widow of slain South African hostage Pierre Korkie asked God why he was killed, as his body was returned home Tuesday from Yemen. ��Why?�� asked Yolande, appearing publicly for the first time since her 56-year-old husband died in a failed rescue bid by U.S. Special Forces over the weekend. ��The voice of prayer that went up throughout this country, throughout Yemen, why was it not answered?�� she said, her two teenaged children sitting numb-faced beside her. ��Why does God not answer our questions and prayers?�� The couple was seized together in May 2013 in Yemen’s second city of Taiz by members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Yolande was released in January following mediation by the Gift of the Givers charity. The South African charity said Pierre’s release was only hours away when an operation was launched on Saturday to free an American captive held by the same militants. But both Korkie and the U.S. captive, photojournalist Luke Somers, were killed by the al-Qaida militants during the raid. Yolande said ��we choose to let it go�� because accusations will not bring back her husband, who died Saturday along with American hostage Luke Somers. U.S. officials have said they carried out the rescue mission by special forces because al-Qaida had threatened to kill Somers, and that they did not know 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, who was flanked by her two children. ��Will it bring Pierre back? Never.�� ‘Heart for the poor’ Korkie’s remains arrived Tuesday at the Waterkloof Air Force base outside Pretoria. Yolande spoke of ��immense relief�� that his suffering was over.