$1.5million demanded for Shiraaz Mohamed

By KAREN SINGH Time of article published May 6, 2019

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DURBAN - The family of kidnapped photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed have asked for “continued prayers” for his safe return after a ransom request of $1.5million (R21m) was made by his captors last week.

This comes after a “proof of life video” was released on April 26 to relief organisation Gift of the Givers.

“We request continued prayers from everyone, so that our brother may be released safe and soon,” said Shiraaz’s sister, Sumaya Mohamed.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, said Shiraaz’s kidnappers called after releasing the video to start negotiations on the way forward.

“The demand for Shiraaz’s release is $1.5million. We made it clear that this was not possible,” said Sooliman.

Sooliman said they advised the kidnappers that Shiraaz’s family did not have the means to pay that ransom, he was not employed by a large corporate company that could assist and the South African government would not pay.

“They said they were giving us time to consider options. In a subsequent conversation, we said the figure was too high. They said it was negotiable,” he said.

They called again last Thursday, according to Sooliman, and “seemed anxious”, claiming they needed to “conclude the deal urgently”.

“The Russians were bombing South Idlib and North Hama and they’re afraid that Shiraaz could be killed in the bombing,” said Sooliman.

Sooliman added that they were engaging with religious leaders to provide letters requesting the unconditional release of Shiraaz immediately, to prevent a tragedy.

“We lost Pierre Korkie on the day his release was secured, Stephen McGown’s mother passed on one month before Stephen was released, and we certainly don’t want to live through another such incident,” said Sooliman.

Mohamed was abducted on January 10, 2017 in the vicinity of Gift of the Givers’ Ar Rahma Hospital in Darkoush, Syria.

THE MERCURY 

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