S.African hostage in Syria alive after one year: charity
A South African charity said Tuesday it had received proof that a freelance photographer kidnapped in Syria was alive, as his family prepared to mark one year since his capture.
Shiraaz Mahomed was kidnapped on January 10 last year travelling to the Turkish border from a hospital supported by the Gift of the Givers charity in the Syrian town of Darkouch, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Aleppo.
Gift of the Givers said that no ransom demand had been made and the identity of the kidnappers was not known.
The charity said in a statement that it had confirmed Mahomed was alive through replies to 10 questions that only he would be able to answer.
Mahomed sent a message sending greetings to his parents and saying that he was “very happy with the questions and wants to be released,” the charity said, describing his family as “ecstatic”.
Many foreign journalists have been kidnapped since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, often by the self-described Islamic State group.
South African hostage Stephen McGown, who was held by Al-Qaeda in Mali for nearly six years, was released in August after negotiations led by Gift of the Givers.
The South African government insisted that no ransom was paid to secure McGown’s release.