Shiraaz Mohamed’s family anxious after news of his alleged abduction

Mohamed has apparently been abducted in Syria, and while Dirco says it cannot yet confirm the kidnapping an NGO says it has begun engagements to establish his whereabouts.

FILE: South African photojournalist  Shiraaz Mohamed. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG – The family of a missing South African photojournalist is anxious over his whereabouts following reports he was abducted in Syria while visiting the region with local non-governmental organisation, Gift of the Givers.

Shiraaz Mohamed has apparently been abducted in that country, but the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) says cannot yet confirm the kidnapping.

The department’s Nelson Kgwete say they do not have an embassy in Syria.

Operation SA’s Yusuf Abramjee says conditions on the ground are volatile at the moment.

“The rebels are in control and I wouldn’t be surprised that they probably release him. They are very sceptical of media coming into Syria. While we were there, three journalists from Indonesia were taken into custody and subsequently released.”

GIFT OF THE GIVERS BEGINS ENGAGEMENTS

Gift of the Givers says it’s engaging the Turkish government and the governor near the Syrian border where South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped.

The organisation’s Imtiaz Sooliman says the drivers travelling with the journalist were told by the gunmen that they represent several groups inside Syria.

“Although it’s a very tense situation, we all have to keep calm to try to find out who has him. We don’t understand why he is captured, but we know that the people in Syria respect us and they love us for what we have done there.”

At the same time, Dirco’s Nelson Kgwete says they do not have an embassy in Syria but will find other means to follow up on the matter.

“We will make use of our missions in the neighbouring countries to follow up on the report and confirm to us what they know. Until then we will not be able to confirm the report.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)