GIFT OF THE GIVERS RECEIVE 'PROOF OF LIFE' OF KIDNAPPED SA PHOTOJOURNALIST SHIRAAZ MOHAMEDDate: 2018-01-09
On Tuesday, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman from The Gift of the Givers said they had received proof that South African photojournalist, Shiraaz Mohamed, who was captured in Syria, was still alive.
Wednesday marks one year to the day since Mohamed was captured while accompanying the Gift of the Givers back to the Turkish border. He was kidnapped with two drivers who were released immediately. They were told that Mohamed had been held for "questioning".
December 26, head of the Ar Rahma Hospital in Syria, Dr Ahmad Ghandour – who heads up Gift of the Givers and was driving the search for Mohamed – received a message saying: "Don’t talk to anyone but us, we are the door to Shiraaz."
In response, Sooliman said Gift of the Givers prepared a list of 10 questions as surety as they had received numerous similar messages previously.
"The voice said: 'Send the questions. You will have the answers soon. On 2 January the call came again: 'My man is in Syria, he has met Shiraaz'. The questions have been answered, we await his return,'" Sooliman said.
On Monday evening, around 8 pm, the Gift of the Givers received a message to say Shiraaz sends "salaams to his mother and family and to the Gift of the Givers, that he is very happy with the questions and wants to be released ASAP".
Sooliman said, "Through Dr Ahmad Ghandour's relentless efforts, we started receiving messages from 28 September from at least eight different sources that Shiraaz was alive, one such source stating that he was with Shiraaz on 17 November.
"But we couldn't give Shiraaz's family false hope as the information could not be verified no matter how credible the source. Last night was the turning point, as Shiraaz's family confirmed that all 10 questions were correctly answered and it could only be from Shiraaz."