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Tuesday 20th March 2018

South African Journalist Hostage in Syria Still Alive after Two Years, Charity

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London - AFP

Sun, 28 Apr 2019 21:31 GMT

A South African charity said Sunday, April 28th, it had received a video evidence that a freelance photographer kidnapped in Syria was alive after being captured for over two years, according to AFP.

Shiraaz Mahomed was kidnapped on January 10th, 2017, travelling to the Turkish border from a hospital supported by the "Gift of the Givers" charity in the Syrian town of Darkouch, 100 kilometres west of Aleppo.

"It has taken two years and three months but finally "Gift of the Givers" has received a proof of life for journalist Shiraaz Mahomed, who was abducted on January 10th, 2017 in the vicinity of "Gift of the Givers" at Al Rahma Hospital in Darkoush, Syria" said the charity's head Imtiaz Soliman in a message shared on social networks.

The first evidence that Mahomed was alive came in January 2018, where he responded to ten questions only sent to him, while the latest video arrived by WhatsApp on Friday, Soliman said.

Mohamed appears in a video clip of about 30 seconds, speaking in front of an armed man on April 13. "The video presents significant information" Soliman added.

Many foreign journalists have been kidnapped since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, often by Isis.

South African hostage Stephen McGown, who was held by Al-Qaeda in Mali for nearly six years, was released in August after negotiations led by "Gift of the Givers".

The South African government confirmed that no ransom was paid to secure McGown's release.

Middle East