Kidnapped SA photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed 'escapes' from captivity
Durban - Two years after photojournalist Shiraaz Mohambed was kidnapped while on assignment in Syria, he is now a free man. This is according to Imtiaz Sooliman of the Gift of The Givers.
He said Mohamed escaped from his captors who have been demanding ransom for him.
"The details are sketchy but we were told that Shiraaz 'escaped' from captivity and at some point was assisted by 'friendly' people, who were very aware of his case, given the huge publicity Gift of the Givers initiated worldwide around Shiraaz's capture," Sooliman said.
He said Mohamed had been taken hostage on 10 January 2017 in Darkoush, Syria.
"He had gone on his own accord as a photojournalist to capture the suffering of the Syrian people," Sooliman said.
He said Gift of the Givers has informed Mohamed's family and have been in communication with government.
"We now wait for the South African government to make contact with Turkish Intelligence to bring Shiraaz home as soon as practically possible," he said.
In a statement on Sunday, Mohamed's family asked for time to come to terms with the latest developments.
"The family of Shiraaz Mohammed would like to respond to the latest news regarding his release. However considering the sensitive nature of his circumstance we believe it is irresponsible to make any public comment as it may endanger his life. We will keep the media informed once we have received independent confirmation that Shiraaz is safely with the relevant authorities," the family said.
There is been a mass outpouring of well wishes on social media following news of Mohamed's escape.
The reported escape of #ShiraazMohamed from captivity is the best news the SA media profession has received in the longest time— Madimetja Mashishi (@RealMadimetja) December 15, 2019
Free at last. Can't imagine the psychological trauma when he finally reintegrates into society. #Shiraazmohamed— Thabo Ntsako Baloyi (@MrBaloyiTheOne) December 15, 2019
Shiraaz Mohamed - a South African photographer held prisoner in Syria for three years - ‘escaped’ captivity according to @GiftoftheGivers Imtiaz Sooliman— Vauldi Carelse (@vauldicarelse) December 15, 2019