Johannesburg-based photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in Syria. Picture: Facebook
Cape Town - Wednesday will mark exactly one year since photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed went missing in Syria, however, information surfaced on Monday that he might still be alive.

Last year on Wednesday January 10 Mohamed was captured in Syria while on his way back from the Turkish border.

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

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation said Mohamed was never released.

Over the months they had received information through various sources that Mohamed was still alive, but there was never any proof.

"We ignored all that. Then on 26 December came an all important call 'Don't talk to anyone but us, we are the door to Shiraaz'. We responded that everyone has said that already. We said the test of surety is a list of 10 questions that Gift of the Givers has prepared in consultation Shiraaz's family."

He said the voice on the other end said they must send the questions and a response would follow.

"On 2 January the call came again 'my man is in Syria, he has met Shiraaz, the questions have been answered, we await his return'."

The answers arrived yesterday at 7.50pm. The message received said Sooliman was that Mohamed gives "salaams for his mother and family and to Gift of the Givers, he is very happy with the questions and wants to be released asap".

"Last night was the turning point as Shiraaz's family confirmed that all ten questions were correctly answered and it could only be from Shiraaz. The family were ecstatic. They all huddled together around the mother, Mrs Shireen Mohamed, and broke out in tears of joy and hope. There was an atmosphere of positivity, a realisation that in spite of all the bombing and unpredictability of terror temperament, Shiraaz was alive. The timing couldn't have come at a more important time as the mother had been admitted to hospital on New Year's eve with a cardiac condition. The waiting and uncertainty had taken its toll. Finally, we have proof of life. This was major healing for her"

Mohamed's sister Sumaya Mohamed confirmed to the Weekend Argus that they had received the news that her brother is alive.

"All praise be to The Almighty. We are very happy with the news, it brings added hope especially during my mother's illness. We ask that everyone continue to pray for our brother's safe and swift return. We thank gift of the givers for their relentless efforts," she said.

Sooliman added: "Now comes the daunting challenge - why was Shiraaz captured and what do they want? We await that 'voice'."

Weekend Argus