Obama ‘apologises’ to South Africa after botched Yemen operation

In a rare move, US President Barack Obama has apologised to South Africans for a botched rescue operation that cost the life of Pierre Korkie on Saturday, the South African presidency says.

Mac Maharaj, spokesperson of the presidency, said Obama called Jacob Zuma on Sunday morning to offer his condolences after Korkie, a South African teacher held by an Al Qaeda affiliate since March 2013,  was killed during a poorly executed American operation designed to try rescue an American citizen also held by the terror group.

Both the American, Luke Somers, who was a photojournalist, and Korkie, were killed in the ensuing firefight alongside 10 Al Qaeda fighters.

Korkie was scheduled to have been released on Sunday, according to South African charity Gift of the Givers. Obama is said to have given the green light to the operation when it became clear Somers was under threat.

“Mr Obama told Mr Zuma that his office knew that a non-US citizen (Korkie) would probably die in the operation, but it was a chance he was willing to take.

“American lives are tangibly more important than non-US lives after all,” Maharaj quoted Obama as having said.

The spokesperson also said that Obama had described in painstaking detail how relieved he was that Korkie was “an Afrikaner, white man and not a young black male, because you know how seriously our country takes crimes against black people”.

“Hashtag Blacklivesmatter,” Obama chuckled.

Maharaj said President Zuma would consult the Chinese on how to best profit from Obama’s mistake. It is expected that Zuma would allow an upgrade to his waning Nkandla fence as worthy compensation.

Note: As usual, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation, Clayson Monyela did not answer his phone to offer comment on the government stance on the issue.

Abu O’Well is an almost an award-winning satirist with the Daily Vox. Read more of his writing here.

Photo credit: GCIS

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