Shiraaz Mohamed ‘escapes’ from captivity
Mohamed was taken hostage in Darkoush, Syria by unknown men 2017 where had gone on his own accord as a photojournalist to capture the suffering of the Syrian people.
Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in Syria by unknown men in 2017. Picture: Supplied to Rising Sun Lenasia
The South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who was taken hostage in Darkoush, Syria, by unknown men 2017 has reportedly escaped captivity.
This is according to a statement issued by South African non-governmental organisation Gift of the Givers.
They reportedly received the news on Saturday from unknown sources who had known them to have been working on securing Mohamed’s release.
“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,” read part of the statement.
According to reports, Mohamed had travelled to Syria on his own accord as a photojournalist to capture the suffering of the Syrian people before he was taken.
“We thanked the caller for contacting us but informed him that we had withdrawn from Shiraaz’s case on 26 June 2019 as the family had decided to go with an alternative option,” added Gift of the Givers.
“We asked, that even though we are no longer involved, if he would consider sending us a picture of Shiraaz to pass on to his distraught family and to ensure that it is indeed Shiraaz that he is referring to. He graciously responded with one picture immediately.”
The organisation states that the man they were in contact with later sent them a second picture and said it was taken just before Shiraaz was handed over to Turkish Intelligence.
“He said in the absence of our involvement in the case it was the best option for Shiraaz given the volatility, instability and extremely dangerous situation inside Syria, coupled with Shiraaz’s understandable anxiety to get out of Syria instantly at any cost.”
Gift of the Givers concluded by stating that they have informed Shiraaz’s family, Minister Naledi Pandor and Consular Services at DIRCO.
“All have acknowledged our messages. We now wait for the South African government to make contact with Turkish Intelligence to bring Shiraaz home as soon as practically possible.”
Mohamed’s family have since issued a statement on the matter and stating that they do not feel comfortable making public comment on the matter given “the sensitive nature of his circumstance” as they fear it may endanger his life.
They will comment officially once they have received independent confirmation that he is safely with the relevant authorities.
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)