JOHANNESBURG: A video showing South African photo-journalist Shiraaz Mahomed who was kidnapped two years ago in Darkoush, Syria, has surfaced proving he is still alive.
Mohamed’s captors sent the 36-second video via whatsapp to relief agency Gift of the Givers.
In the video, Mohamed is seen sitting down as a masked gunman stands next to him. He makes an appeal to the world to assist in securing his release.
“Doctor Imtiaaz Sooliman [founder of the Gift of the Givers], my South African president, my family, my friends, the international community and anyone who can help in securing my freedom, please,” he said.
“I live in fear of my life. I am scared.”
“The area that I am in has been bombed by the Russian air force; bombs are getting closer and closer. I need your help, please help me,” he pleads in the proof-of-life video shot on April 13, but only released to his family and the NGO on Friday and sent out to the media on Sunday.
“Shiraaz’s family was very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty. They knew for certain that Shiraaz was alive,” Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman told Anadolu Agency Sunday.
He also said Mohamed’s captors have not yet asked for a ransom.
Sooliman said Mohamed who was abducted two years and 3 months ago in the vicinity of Gift of the Givers Ar Rahma Hospital in Darkoush, Syria had a passion to document the hardships of communities in distress.
“He wanted to narrate the tragedy of the Syrian people to the world through pictures,” he said.
Syria tops among the deadliest countries for press members to work in with 14 journalists killed only in 2016 out of a total of 48 across the world, according to New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). (AA)