Johannesburg-based photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in Syria two years ago. Picture: Facebook
Johannesburg-based photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in Syria two years ago. Picture: Facebook

Video gives Shiraaz Mohamed's family hope for his safe return

By Tebogo Monama Time of article published Apr 29, 2019

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Johannesburg - The family of South African photographer Shiraaz Mohamed were relieved to see him alive in a video two years after he was kidnapped in war-torn Syria.

A video of Mohamed pleading to the government and his family to rescue him surfaced this weekend. This, his sister Sumaya said, had given his family hope for his safe return.

Sumaya said: “We are most grateful to the Almighty. As heartbreaking as it is to see our brother in that way, we are very relieved to see that he is alive.”

Mohamedwas kidnapped at the Gift of the Givers hospital in Darkoush in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. He was on his way to Turkey with the humanitarian organisation when he was abducted. The two drivers who were with him were released, and he was kept for “questioning”.

January 10 marked two years since Mohamed’s kidnapping.

In the video Mohamed is holding a piece of paper with the words "Saturday, 13/04/2019", which is believed to be the date when the video was taken.

He is kneeling and begging the government, Gift of the Givers and his family to rescue him as the area he is in is under constant bomb attacks.

“I need your help in securing my freedom, please. I live in fear of my life, I am scared. We are being bombed. The area that I am in is being bombed by the Russian air force. The bombs are getting closer, and closer, and closer. I need your help, please help me.”

A masked gunman stands guard behind him. Mohamed is on his knees throughout the 38-second-long video.

This is the second time that the family have received proof of life since his disappearance. Last January, the family received answers to 10 personal questions from him.

Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said: “The proof-of-life video, made on April 13, 2019, arrived by WhatsApp at 10pm on April 26.

"Shiraaz’s family were very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty. They knew for certain that Shiraaz was alive.”

Sumaya said with Ramadaan being observed from next weekend, they were pleading for Mohamed’s release.

Video: Gift of the Givers.

“With Ramadaan almost upon us, we plead with those who have our brother to please release him. He is innocent and we need him home with his family and loved ones. We are beside ourselves with worry and our mom’s health is deteriorating as a result of all the stress.

“Our mom’s only wish is to see our brother and hold him in her arms again before she passes on.”

Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said they were aware of the video but didn't comment further.

The Star

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