Shiraaz Mohamed Syria

Photo: Gift of the Givers / Facebook

Shiraaz Mohamed: SA journo kidnapped in Syria free after daring ‘escape’

After almost three years in captivity, Shiraaz Mohamed has managed to escape from his kidnappers in Syria. DIRCO are now planning to bring him home.

Shiraaz Mohamed Syria

Photo: Gift of the Givers / Facebook

A South African photojournalist who went missing in Syria almost three years ago has officially escaped captivity, it was revealed on Sunday morning. Shiraaz Mohamed’s whereabouts were only made public in April, and his case has received a large degree of attention following a campaign by Gift of the Givers.

Shiraaz Mohamed “escapes captivity”

The charitable organisation broke the news earlier in the day. They released a brief statement, saying that Mohamed was assisted by “friendly” people in Syria who helped him break free. The relevant authorities – including DIRCO – have been made aware of this significant development.

“Shiraaz Mohamed is FREE. 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. He has since been handed over to Turkish Intelligence.”

“We 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.”

Gift of the Givers

How Shiraaz Mohamed was captured

Mohamed is a photojournalist from our shores. His trip to the Middle East with Gift of the Givers ended in acrimony after he was captured by a Syrian terrorist group in April 2017. It is believed that Mohamed, along with two drivers, was on his way back to the Turkish border when he was captured by the terrorists.

According to Gift of the Givers’ founder, Dr Imitiaz Sooliman, Shiraaz Mohamed accompanied the non-profit organisation on his own accord and was never encouraged to join them. The two drivers that were captured with Mohamed were immediately released, but the South African photojournalist was kept as a bargaining tool.

What happens next?

We are awaiting further developments, as plans for Mohamed’s safe return to SA are yet to be finalised.