SA lensman in Syria escapes
While there were no updates late yesterday after reports emerged that South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed had escaped captivity in Syria, a family representative said their negotiation team was working on ensuring his safe return.
A statement released by South African non-governmental organisation Gift of the Givers earlier revealed that the photojournalist had escaped from captivity. The statement read: “The details are sketchy but we were told Mohamed ‘escaped’ from captivity was assisted by ‘friendly’ people, who were very aware of his case, given the huge publicity Gift of the Givers initiated worldwide around Mohamed’s capture.”
The Mohamed family refused to publicly respond to the information given to them by the organisation “considering the sensitive nature of his circumstances”, but a representative confirmed that “he’s in good hands”.
Family member Shaaziya Brijlal said: “We got a call from Shiraaz at 1pm on Saturday and he promised when he is safe he would call us. We are still waiting for that. However, we have confirmed he did get help at the Turkish border and we know he is in good hands.”
She added that they had a negotiating team involved in the matter to ensure his safe passage back into the country and that the reason there was no word from the government might be because the information had been revealed over the weekend and public holiday.
Mohamed was reportedly taken hostage in Darkush, Syria on January 10, 2017 after travelling to the wartorn country to capture the plight of the Syrian people.
Gift of the Givers’ Imtiaz Sooliman confirmed that Mohamed was with the Turkish government and they were waiting for the two governments to engage on his return.
“We have informed Shiraaz’s family, Minister Naledi Pandor and Consular Services at the department of international relations and cooperation.
“All have acknowledged our messages. We now wait for the South African government to make contact with Turkish Intelligence to bring Shiraaz home.”
Department of international relations spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the department was still in the process of verifying the information given to them by the Gift of the Givers.
He did get help at the Turkish border and we know he is in good hands.
Family member of Shiraaz Mohamed