Photos, videos prove SA journo kidnapped in Syria is alive

PRETORIA – Eyewitness News can reveal that kidnapped South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed is alive and that plans are under way to get him back home within the next month.

The NGO Truth Collective South Africa has just returned from a 12-day trip to Syria where it tried to broker Mohamed’s deal and has obtained photos and videos of Mohamed, as proof of life.

The NGO is being supported by Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo and the Syrian government, which has agreed to release four rebel fighters in a hostage swap.

Mohamed entered the country illegally as part of a Gift of the Givers delegation in December and was kidnapped last month as he was preparing to return home.

Director of Truth Collective South Africa Bakar al-Maharmeh says an intermediary, who is speaking to the rebels holding Mohamed, has produced proof of life.

“Shiraaz is alive, we’ve got a video and a picture of him from the rebel side to ensure he’s alive. I never went to the rebel side, I went through the Syrian government, who are supporting this issue because of the agreed relationship with South Africa.”

Al-Maharmeh says he’s returning to Syria next month to secure Mohamed’s release and bring him back home.

“The rebels have requested four high criminal terrorist be arrested by the Syrian government and they sent the name in exchange for Shiraaz’s release. The official of Syria informed me they got the guys and they’re willing to make the swap under the Syrian Red Cross.”

Al-Maharmeh says he’s deeply grateful for the support from Mfeketo and the Syrian government.

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(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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