South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed has reportedly returned home safely after being kidnapped in Syria by Islamic State in 2017.

Mohamed was captured three years ago in January 2017 while in Syria to photograph the suffering in the country. In April 2019, his captors released a proof-of-life video in which an unknown gunman can be seen behind Mohamed as he pleads for his family and the international community to meet his captors’ demands of $1.5 million (about R21.7-million) and secure his release.

International NGO Gift of the Givers took to Twitter on December 15 to announce that Mohamed would soon return home after escaping captivity.

“The details are sketchy but we were told that Shiraaz ‘escaped’ from captivity and at some point was assisted by ‘friendly’ people, who were very aware of his case, given the huge publicity Gift of the Givers initiated worldwide around Shiraaz’s capture,” reads their statement.

Shiraaz had then been handed to Turkish Intelligence, who liased with the South African government to facilitate Shiraaz’s safe return.

According to Reuters, Shiraaz was flown home yesterday, January 2, but no further details were provided. South Africa’s foreign ministry, Mohamed’s family and the Turkish government have not yet confirmed the report.

Picture: Twitter / Gift of the Givers

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