Durban - Abducted South African photo-journalist, Shiraaz Mohamed, has pleaded for government assistance and for those negotiating with his kidnappers, to do so respectfully.
In a video released earlier on Monday, Mohamed appealed for those in negotiations for his freedom to cooperate with his captures.
He said if this was not the case, “they will put a bullet in my head”.
Mohamed, who was abducted in Syria two years ago, is dressed in torn clothing and has dark circles under his eyes.The video shows a man walking into a 'cell' where Mohamed is being kept. A black scarf is put on his head and he is handcuffed before being led outside.
Mohamed is then made to sit down while a man shaves his beard. Looking gaunt, Mohamed is visibly shaking as the man shaves his chin.
He is then given an orange overall to put on and he makes his plea.
“These people are very angry with the way you are speaking with them, they way you are doing negotiations. My living conditions up until the last time you spoke to them was ok. My life has become very difficult. Please, I beg you Dr Fekri Shabaan change the way you are speaking with them. Change the way you are negotiating with them and give them what they want,” he said.
Earlier this year, The Mercury reported that Mohamed's family asked for “continued prayers” for his safe return after a ransom request of $1.5million (R21m) was made by his captors in May.
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, said Shiraaz’s kidnappers called after releasing a 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.
Mohamed was abducted on January 10, 2017 in the vicinity of Gift of the Givers’ Ar Rahma Hospital in Darkoush, Syria.