'We expect to get a call for ransom' - Gift of the Givers after receiving video of SA photojournalist

2019-04-29 17:30
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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Humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers, expects those who abducted missing South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed to make contact soon.

"We expect to get a call for ransom," organisation founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said on Monday, a day after he shared a heartbreaking proof of life video they received more than two years after he disappeared.

News24 reported on Sunday that the organisation received a 36-second long video of "Mohamed" pleading for help from President Cyril Ramaphosa and others, while holding a piece of paper with "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.

April 10 marked two years since Mohamed was captured in Syria while 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.

He celebrated his 41st birthday earlier this month and it is understood that his conservative family got together to pray on that day.

Sooliman shared that after Mohamed's family watched the video, they were "very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty. They knew for certain that Shiraaz was alive".

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

"On January 8, 2018; the first proof of life was received in the form of answers to 10 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 22:00 on 26 April."

In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) noted the video clip and media statement from the Gift of the Givers.

"Dirco has been in contact with the family and will continue to liaise with the family on the matter. No further information will be given by Dirco and no media interviews will be conducted by Dirco due to the sensitivity of the matter," department spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

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Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  shiraaz mohamed  |  kidnappings
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