SA photographer Shiraaz Mohamed has issued a desperate plea to authorities, including President Ramaphosa, to help release him from his capturers.
SA photographer Shiraaz Mohamed has issued a desperate plea to authorities, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, to help release him from his capturers.

Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers released a video of Mohamed, who was captured in Syria while on his way back from the Turkish border on January 10, 2017.

At the time, it was said that he was being held for questioning to clear up a misunderstanding and that he would be released after 48 hours.

Mohamed had been accompanying the Gift of the Givers to document its campaign at one of its biggest hospitals in northern Syria.

Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said that it has taken two years and three months, but finally, they received proof of life.

In the video, Mohamed pleads to Sooliman, Ramaphosa, his family and friends, and the international community for help.

He said he was scared and the area he was being kept in was being bombed by the Russian Air Force, and the bombings were getting closer and closer.

“An important event on April 12, led to us successfully receiving this all important video. Valuable information has been assimilated over his period of captivity. The video presents significant information. We can't explain details for now as many lives would be in danger,” said Sooliman.

“It has been a very difficult period engaging large networks of people to trace Mohamed's whereabouts. The proof of life video, made on April 13, arrived (via) WhatsApp at 10pm on April 26. Mohamed’s family was very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty. They knew for certain that Mohamed was alive.”

He said the first proof of life was received on January 8, in the form of answers to 10 very personal questions, which only Mohamed could answer. He said the answers were accurate and Mohamed's family had no doubt that it was from him.

Last October, a Japanese journalist who was captured three years prior in Syria, Jumpei Yasuda, had been freed.

Japanese media reported that Yasuda, 44, had been captured by an al-Qaeda affiliate after entering Syria from Turkey in 2015.

Following his release, Sooliman said Gift of the Givers were “very happy” for Yasuda and his family, and remained optimistic and hopeful that Mohamed would “also taste freedom in due course”.