OUR PRAYERS are with the family of South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who has gone missing in Syria and is feared to have been abducted. We reported yesterday that the lensman was kidnapped near the Gift of the Givers Foundation’s Al-Hilal Hospital by people who claimed to “represent all groups inside Syria”. He was apparently singled out from the group he was travelling with and taken away for “questioning” regarding a “misunderstanding”. He has not been seen since. It must be the most heartbreaking thing for any family. Journalism is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. And no matter how careful we are and how hard we try to stay safe, tragedy is never far off.
A few years ago, another South African photojournalist, Anton Hammerl, also went missing while on assignment in war-ravaged Libya in 2011. Mohamed’s kidnapping opens old wounds and raises questions about why he was taken away.
Gift of the Givers have been good to the Syrian people in the past four years, providing humanitarian support in the war-torn country.
We journalists travel the world to get as close as possible to the story. Nothing can prepare us for this kind of tragedy. We hope that our colleague will be found alive.