The family of kidnapped photojournalist, Shiraaz Mohamed, has appealed to the public for help to raise funds to secure his freedom.
A group of armed men kidnapped Mohamed in Syria in 2017 while he was on an assignment.
“The group have demanded that we pay $700,000 in exchange for my son’s freedom. They have told us that this is not a ransom amount but it is their cost for my son’s maintenance and upkeep during his time of captivity,” his mother, Shireen Mohamed, said in a statement on Friday.
“We have tried all avenues possible to come up with the money. No one is willing to assist us. We, as a family, cannot raise this amount of money by ourselves. It is an impossible task. We have tried countless organisations, individuals and even our government, but no one is helping us.”
She said the family had been in talks with NGOs and the government without much luck.
With the help of a professional, however, the captors made contact with the family in August and provided several proofs of life, including letters and videos.
The family has since been liaising with them.
“We are the closest we have ever been to bringing him home, with the grace of the Almighty,” his mother said.
“From me, as a mother, this is a desperate call to my fellow South Africans and the world, any organisation, any individual, any government, any country, anyone who can help, I plead with you all. If you have any means to help me in any way possible, please do so.
“My son needs you, my family and I need you. Please make contact with us and you can be assured that any assistance will be treated in the strictest of confidence, if so desired. Time is running out. Please help me save my son’s life,” she said.