WATCH: Video of photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed proof of life released, more than 2 years after his abduction

2019-04-28 14:53
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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A heartbreaking video of a man believed to be the missing South African photojournalist, Shiraaz Mohamed, was sent to humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers.

In the video, a man is clad in black top and what looks like camouflage pants; face covered and standing behind "Mohamed" who appeared to be on his knees. Looking and sounding distressed, "Mohamed" can be seen pleading for help with an almost trembling voice. He asked for help from President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gift of the Givers founder Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman to his family, friends and "anyone who can help".

Holding a white A4 page horizontally with both hands, he spoke of living his life in fear, saying bombs were getting close to where he was being held. The paper he is holding has "Saturday, 13/04/2019" written on it. This is believed to be the day the video was made. His name is written at the bottom of that page.

"Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, my South African President, my family, my friends the international community, anyone that can help… I need your help," he said.

"I live in fear of my life… I am scared. The area that I am in is being bombed by the Russian air force… the bombs are getting closer, and closer, and closer. I need your help, please help me."

The 36 second long video then stops. This, the Gift of the Givers believes is another proof that Mohamed was still alive.

"Shiraaz's family was very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty. They knew for certain that Shiraaz was alive," Sooliman said explaining how the family felt after watching the video. 

April 10 marked exactly two years since Mohamed was captured in Syria, on his way back to the Turkish border after accompanying the Gift of the Givers.

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 captive since then.

"A photojournalist, with a passion to document the hardships of communities in distress, he wanted to narrate the tragedy of the Syrian people to the world through pictures. Shiraaz has been accused of being a foreign spy, a disingenuous way to justify the captivity of an innocent man," Sooliman said.

Little has been heard about Mohamed except some "proofs of life" including the recent video recording.

"On January 8, 2018; the first proof of life was received in the form of answers to ten very personal questions which only Shiraaz could answer. The answers were accurate and Shiraaz's family had no doubt that it was from him," Sooliman said.

"It has been a very difficult period engaging large networks of people to trace Shiraaz's whereabouts. The proof of life video, made on April 13, 2019, arrived by WhatsApp at 10pm on 26 April."

Sooliman did not explain exactly what needed to be done to secure Mohamed's release. Neither did "Mohamed" saying on the video, exactly how he can be helped or freed.

Read more on:    shiraaz mohamed

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