Mystery surrounds kidnapping of SA journo in Syria

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

Johannesburg - Details about the kidnapping of South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed in Syria remain obscure, the Department of International Relations said on Sunday.

"We don’t have details on the circumstances, motivation or where he is being held," departmental spokesman Nelson Kgwete told News24.

"We confirm that the man has been kidnapped."

Kgwete explained that South African staff had previously been removed from Syria due to conflict in the area.

However, embassy staff in Lebanon were liaising with various authorities in Syria as well as aid organisation Gift of the Givers.

On Saturday, the disaster relief organisation said that Mohamed, a Johannesburg journalist, had been kidnapped last week and still not been heard from.

Read more here: South African photojournalist kidnapped in Syria

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said armed men took Mohamed to an unknown place after stopping their convoy on Aljamiliye Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Mohamed, along with two organisation members, had been on his way to the Turkish border to exit Syria.

Sooliman said that at the time, the armed men told the Gift of the Givers personnel "that they think that there is some misunderstanding and that they need to question him and will return him in two days".

The men identified themselves as representing "all groups inside Syria".

The Gift of the Giver officials and Mohamed were blindfolded and driven around for an hour.  While the two organisation members were dropped off, Mohamed has not been heard from since.

Mohamed had been capturing scenes of the Syrian civil war, including the lives of adult and child survivors.

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