Shiraaz Mohamed spends first birthday in captivity

The South African journalist’s family says they still haven't lost hope he will return home.

FILE: South African Photojournalist  Shiraaz Mohamed. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - As South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed spends his first birthday in captivity in Syria, his family says they still haven't lost hope he will return home.

Mohamed will be turning 39.

Mohammed was kidnapped three months ago. Howhowe,ver no group has claimed responsibility nor has a ransom been demanded.

The Syrian embassy in South Africa claims Mohammed entered Syria illegally.

Mohamed's ex-wife Shaaziya Brijlal says Tuesday (18 April) is not an easy day for the family.

“I had such a bad feeling that something wasn’t right. I’m beside myself with worry as to what exactly is going on… where he may be, what he’s going through and does he even know the date?"

Two months ago, the non-governmental organisation Truth Collective South Africa said it tried to break a deal to release Mohamed and apparently obtained photos and videos, proving that he was still alive.

But Brijlal says she has not received any new information after this.

In February, a swap deal was apparently been made with al-Qaeda in Syria offering to trade Mohamed for the release of four rebels held by the Syrian government.

Brijlal says she is concerned that three months after Mohammed’s abduction in Syria, there seems to be no real effort to get him back home.

Brijlal says the Department of International Relations needs to take a firm stance to ensure he returns home safe soon.

“I hate all of these games they're playing. We need honesty and openness. Give us the truth as to what exactly is happening. There are people out there who are saying they have an idea on where Shiraaz may be or they can assist.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)