Cape Town - It has been slightly over five years since South African paramedic Gerco van Deventer, 47, was kidnapped while on duty in Awbari, Libya.
Gerco was kidnapped on November 3, 2017 while on his way to the Awbari power plant where he was employed as an on-site emergency medical practitioner.
Recently a video of him was shared online with him briefly explaining what occurred on that day.
According to the video, Gerco stated the date on which it was recorded was March 15, 2023, mentioning that as far as he knew he was the only South African being held by al-Qaeda terrorists in Mali after he was sold to them eight months after being kidnapped.
Following the recent and only way of communication, confirming that he was still alive, Gerco’s wife Shereen van Deventer set up a campaign aimed at anyone who might have means to help him get released.
“My plea is aimed at everyone and anyone who might potentially have the means to help us. To those that want to help but do not have the means, please share Gerco’s story far and wide so that we can have everyone make a noise to bring him home.
“Everyone can also go on the Facebook page Paramedics Plea: The Gerco van Deventer Story and donate towards getting him home and rebuilding his life on his return.
“There will be costs involved in getting him home and as he won’t have a job or medical aid, these donations could assist in paying for any health oriented expenses,” said Shereen.
Shereen described her husband as a kind, caring and compassionate person that has a passion for helping people. They have been married for seven years, going on eight, and together they share three kids between the ages of 12 and 18 years.
Shereen said it is challenging with Gerco’s absence, and that it becomes very difficult to see “other kids with their fathers or hear them talk about the things other kids do with their fathers”.
“Those moments are the hardest... as only a father can fill that role and absence.
Shereen said there is effort made to make his absence less noticeable by keeping Gerco’s memory alive.
“Keeping that memory alive is essential to having balance... and in a way keeping him part of our everyday life.”
[Editor’s Note: The last quote referring to their shared children has been amended at the request of one of the children’s parents]