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Picture: Supplied / Photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in Syria and information on his whereabouts remains scant.
It has been more than 150 days since South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in Syria, and information on his whereabouts is still scant.
Speaking to The Mercury, his former wife Shirley Govender, who travelled to Syria in February to try to find out more about his disappearance, said it had been a trying time, especially with so little information available.
“That has added to all the trauma of his disappearance, so many unanswered questions.”
Mohamed was kidnapped by gunmen with two aid workers while travelling to the Turkish border on January 10.
The workers were later released, while Mohamed was reportedly kept to be questioned about a misunderstanding.
He had travelled to the Middle Eastern country with humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers.
Govender said she was staying positive and had mobilised media colleagues from around the world to try to get Mohamed’s name and plight out, with the hope that the message would reach him or his captors.
“We need to exhaust every possible avenue and follow up any bit of information.”
Speaking of her trip to Syria, Govender said: “We were surrounded by soldiers, and everywhere we went there were people watching us. It was chilling. It was scary to imagine Shiraaz in captivity, alone. We want him to know that we are looking for him, we have not forgotten him,” said Govender.
Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman on Sunday said they were not speaking about Mohamed at the moment as information was very sensitive. However, they were still working to have him released.
The Mohamed family thanked Gift of the Givers “for their continued efforts and support”.
Mohamed’s sister Sumaya said: “This is an especially difficult time for us, not having our brother with us during this blessed month of Ramadaan. Most evenings we break our fast in tears, but always with prayer, hope and faith that the Almighty will help our brother through this and return him home to us safe, and soon. We ask that everyone please continue to pray for our brother, especially during this blessed month,” she said.
According to non-governmental organisation the Committee to Protect Journalists, since 2011 more than 100 journalists have been kidnapped in the war-torn country.
According to their website: “Cases of journalists missing in conflict zones or areas under the control of militant groups, such as in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, are extremely difficult to track. Information is scarce, the situation is constantly changing, and some cases go unreported.”Source: The Mercury