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Captors of SA photographer Shiraaz Mohamed demand R10m for his freedom

The family of South African photographer Shiraaz Mohamed, who is being held hostage in Syria, has made an impassioned plea to the country to help raise the $700,000 his captors are demanding for his release.

Mohamed was captured in Syria on January 10 2017 in Darkoush, after travelling there to narrate the tragedy of the Syrian people to the world through pictures. He had arrived in Syria on January 4 that year.

In a statement released by his family on Friday, Mohamed’s mother, Shireen, said her son’s captors were demanding $700,000 (just over R10.3m) in exchange for his 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,” said Shireen.

She said the family had tried all avenues to raise the money.

“No one is willing to help us. We cannot raise this amount by ourselves. It is an impossible task. We have tried countless organisations, individuals and even our government, but no one is helping us,” Shireen said.

“Our message to Shiraaz is that we – his mother, brother, sisters, brother-in-law and Shaaziya – are trying our very best to get you home safely. We have not deserted nor forgotten about you. You are in our thoughts and prayers every moment of every day. We love you more than anything and will never forsake you.

“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,” Shireen said.

Mohamed’s family’s plea comes after 32 months of him being held in Syria. He had gone with Gift of the Givers.

TimesLIVE reported that a search for Mohamed was carried out four days after he disappeared.

Gift of the Givers’ founder Imtiaz Sooliman confirmed in 2017 that Mohamed had been working with the group and was abducted on his way to the Turkish border.

Sooliman said initially the men who kidnapped Mohamed said they needed to question him and promised to bring him back in two days, TimesLIVE reported.

He went to Syria on a week-long assignment, commissioned by Gift of the Givers.

His intention was to capture the experiences and suffering of the Syrian people, hoping to garner South African and worldwide support.

Source : Timeslive

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