Keabetswe Shilakwe | 16 January 2017
It’s been six days since the kidnapping and disappearance of the South African photojournalist, Shiraaz Mohamed.
Mohamed, 38, was in Syria to document the living conditions of Syrian refugees and war victims. He was stopped on his way to the Syrian border and was taken for questioning over an alleged “misunderstanding”. His ex-wife realised something was wrong after he had not communicated with her and she proceeded to call the Gift of the Givers and received confirmation of his abduction.
The two hospital workers who were with Mohamed when he was taken, say their abductors were calm and not aggressive. The workers also say the people who took them said they would return Mohamed in four days time. When asked who they were, the kidnappers said they “represent all groups”.
Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, director of Gift of the Givers, says the road used to transport Mohamed to the border hasn’t had any incident in four years.
“He’s not the first person we’ve taken in… they used the same route our ambulances always use.”
He also says Mohamed never gave an indication of being scared of anything before his abduction as he had wanted to go to Aleppo as well.
“We as South Africans and Gift of the Givers are extremely annoyed”
Dr. Sooliman also stresses the difficulty of crossing the Syrian border regardless of having the correct paperwork or not.
Dr. Sooliman says the Turkish, Russian and Syrian governments are doing all they can to find Mohamed as this event has sparked an international outcry. He also asks the public to keep Mahomed’s family in their prayers during this difficult time. The doctor and his team will continue to update the public via social media regarding the situation as time goes on.
Support and prayers are with Mohamed’s family and his release. We can only hope his abductors have mercy and release him to his country and loved ones.
To show your support, use the following Twitter hashtags:
“If he was to be treated no better than an animal, he would at least learn the limits of his cage.” – Shira Anthony