Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 04-05-2019
South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed captors have demanded $1.5 million (R21.5 million) for his release.
NGO Gift of the Givers says Mohamed’s captors called this week to commence negotiations for his release allowing the NGO time to consider their options.
Mohamed was abducted near the Syrian border with Turkey on 10 January 2017 while on a humanitarian trip with the Gift of the Givers.
Last week Gift of the Givers received a video showing Mohamed pleading for his life.
In a statement, Gift of the Givers Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman says they told Mohamed’s captors the ransom demand was too high and that his family could not afford it nor would the South African government be willing to pay.
Sooliman says they were told by the captors that the Russians were bombing South Idlib and North Hama very aggressively and they are afraid that Mohamed could be killed in the bombing.
“We went to Shiraaz's family today to explain this new development and possible consequences. This is exactly what Shiraaz was afraid of in the video where he makes a plea for assistance to secure his release.”
Sooliman says they are currently engaging with religious leaders to provide letters requesting the unconditional release of Mohamed immediately, to prevent a tragedy.