South Africa: Photojournalist 'Coming Home' After Escaping Syrian Captors

A tweet by News24 confirming Shiraaz Mohamed's return home to South Africa.
3 January 2020

Cape Town — Photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed will be returning home three years after being kidnapped in Syria by the Islamic State, writes News24. Reuters reported that, according to a security source in Ankara, Mohamed received assistance from Turkey's intelligence agency.

Previously, Mohamed's escape was reported by Gift of the Givers, a non-profit organisation that sought to negotiate his release with his captors. In a statement, Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said Mohamed was a free man. "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."

Mohamed was abducted in Syria in January 2017 after traveling to the war-torn country to document the suffering of its people. After the first proof of life emerged in April 2019, Mohamed's kidnappers demanded a U.S.$1.5 million ransom in exchange for his release.

In August 2019 a video was released showing the photojournalist pleading for help. "My government, my friends, anyone watching this video that can help me, please help me. My life is still in danger," Mohamed said in the video.

As of writing, there has been no comment from South Africa's foreign ministry, the Turkish government or Mohamed's family.

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