'I feel they will put a bullet in my head' - Shiraaz Mohamed begs for help in new video

2019-08-19 22:47
SA photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who has been kidnapped in Syria. (Facebook)

SA photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who has been kidnapped in Syria. (Facebook)

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South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed has begged for assistance in securing his release from captivity, saying that his life is still in danger.

A man believed to be Mohamed was seen in a new video distributed on Whatsapp, shared by Voice of the Cape Radio on Monday.

In the video, an unkempt Mohamed is seen being taken out of a cell after being blindfolded. An armed, masked man shaves his beard off and he is given an orange overall to wear for the camera.

Mohamed, whose hands are seen shaking at one point, is heard saying: "My government, my friends, anyone watching this video that can help me, please help me. My life is still in danger."

He explains that he has been living in captivity for almost three years and wants to be freed.

"These people are very angry with the way you are speaking to them, with the way you are doing the negotiations. My living conditions up until the last time you spoke to them was okay. My life has become very difficult," he said.

"Please I beg you Dr Fekri Shabaan change the way you are speaking with them, change the way you are negotiating with them, listen to them and give them what they want... I feel they will put a bullet in my head. I am not eating properly. I have lost a lot of weight."

Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman told News24 on Monday that they had not been involved in the case since June 27 as the family had chosen another option.

After proof that he was alive emerged in April, a US$1.5m (R21.5m) ransom demand was made in exchange for Mohamed's release.

News24 previously reported that Gift of the Givers made it clear that they could not pay the ransom as they did not have that kind of money at their disposal.

Read more here: Shiraaz Mohamed's captors split on whether to release him or continue to pursue ransom

Letters from religious leaders were also sent to the captors asking for Mohamed to be freed unconditionally.

Mohamed was captured on April 10, 2017, in Syria, on his way back to the Turkish border after accompanying the Gift of the Givers. Sooliman said he was not part of the team and went there on his own accord.

The two drivers who were captured with him were released immediately, and were told that Mohamed had been held for "questioning". He is believed to have been held in captivity since then.

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