The family of Shiraaz Mohamed is desperately seeking donations in pursuit of a R10 million ransom issued by his captors. The kidnapped photojournalist has been held in captivity in Syria by an unknown group since 2017, begging for support, aid and ultimately his life. Despite calls for help and various proofs of life, Mohamed has not seen successful intervention from the South African government or local support groups in the situation.
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The urgent call for donations by the family of the kidnapped Mohamed comes as a last resort. Shiraaz’s former wife, Shaaziya Brijlal explained that the family has no option left other than to turn to the public and break their silence.
“Things have become quite urgent and we’ve tried everything,” said Brijlal.
“We’ve got no choice but to turn to the public and break our silence. Early on into his captivity we were approached by a volunteer negotiator and his team… they’re working closely with the group [of captors]… We have a lot of trust in the relationships we’ve established. Our team is very strong. We are quite confident that Shiraaz is okay and the group is willing to hand him over.”
The current R10 million demand is relatively low, considering previous ransom demands. The captors seem to disregard Shiraaz’s [and his family’s] insufficient financial resources and influential status insofar as the ransom amount is concerned. According to reports in May 2019, a previous ransom demand of R21.5 million was made.
“We are in trouble – Shiraaz is in trouble. Those videos are not easy things for loved ones to deal with…after the video that was made public, we received another video which prompted us to also go public because he was being tortured and there was blood all over the place… It’s an exhausting process and the family is really broken,” said Brijlal referring to some publicly released videos of Mohamed pleading for assistance.
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The family has indicated that they do have a rough idea of where Mohamed is being held in Syria but could not disclose the information due to security concerns. Brijlal could not comment on whether the kidnapping was random or not, opting instead to refer to it as simply another case of human trafficking. She explained that she suspects he has been sold to different groups a few times.
Mohamed’s family is appealing to all sectors of society – big business, government, aid organisations, individuals and other entities – to come forward and donate. Donations will be treated confidentially and anonymous donors are equally welcome.
Anyone willing to contribute is urged to deposit funds into the following bank account:
Shiraaz Mohamed Fund SA
ACC NO: 628 308 48 935
BRANCH CODE: 250655