'We have a very strong suspicion of who it is, but I cannot mention it now'

A video of South African photojournalist Shiraz Mohamed that has emerged from Syria, where he can be seen pleading for the South African government to assist in securing his freedom, is proof that the journalist is alive.

Read: Captured SA photographer is still alive, says Gift of the Givers

The Gift of the Givers received the video in early April and says it is working to bring the journalist home.

Mohamed was abducted in January 2017 near a Syrian hospital run by the organisation.

Founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman speaks to 702's Bongani Bingwa about these latest developments concerning Mohamed.

There were indirect forms of knowing that he was alive over that time and a video is the best thing, especially for the family.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

He adds that there was some proof last year that Mohamed was alive, but this video footage is very positive for the family.

He believes they know who is responsible for the abducted but is not at liberty to divulge names at this stage.

We have a very strong suspicion of who it is, but I cannot mention it now as it will put him in jeopardy and to be honest, we actually know who it is.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

We had been following different rebel groups that are there and they said, look we are not responsible, and a lot of them said they will help to find him.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

Suddenly on the 12 April, totally unrelated, we get a message from somebody in Arabic and a train of information begins.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

And finally, the last one in the line is the guy that sent us the video on Friday.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

He adds that most of the rebel groups in Syria welcome journalist intervention.

Some of these groups were involved in getting some Japanese journalists released, and they told us a few months ago that Mohamed is next. But the people that are holding him are denying that they are holding him.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

They know that we all know that they have him, but the bombing somehow indicates where the people are held because they would welcome a journalist coming in, but there is still friction between the groups.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

So for these people, the cause is not necessary, the money is essential. They have not given a ransom, but we know the figure is between € 1.5 million and €4 million from what they have asked from other people.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder - Gift of the Givers

Sooliman says he is confident that Mohamed will be released and come home, but no date is known at this stage.

Watch South African photojournalist, Shiraz Mohamed here:

Listen below to the full interview:


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