The US was "unaware of ongoing negotiations that had any resolution," between Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen and a South African NGO to free Pierre Korkie, said Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, according to AP.
Humanitarian organization Gift of the Givers said in a statement on Saturday that they had negotiated Korkie's release for the following day, and that on the morning of the failed operation, "a team of Abyan leaders met in Aden … and were preparing the final security and logistical arrangements, related to hostage release mechanisms, to bring Pierre to safety and freedom."
The South African ambassador however, told AP that US officials "were just completely unaware of those developments and had to act hastily," adding that it was "not altogether clear" to him if the South African government had been aware of the negotiations.
A US official told the BBC that before the raid, US special forces had not known the identity of the other hostage being held with Somers, who was the subject of a previous rescue attempt in November, carried out by US and Yemeni forces.
According to a statement by the US State Department, the November rescue mission was undertaken on the basis of "reliable intelligence," but that "regrettably Luke was not present," adding, "The hostages of other nationalities were present and were rescued." Reuters reported Yemeni sources who said that Somers and two other hostages had been moved two days earlier from the cave in the remote Hajr as-Say'ar district in the eastern province of Hadramout, and that the raid killed seven al-Qaeda kidnappers and rescued six Yemenis, a Saudi and an Ethiopian hostage.