Gift of the Givers released this statement on Monday after 13 days since South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed went missing in Syria.
Thanks for your incredible support for Shiraaz and his family. Those efforts are truly appreciated. Our special thanks for all prayers and support coming from people outside our country. Today is Day 13 that Shiraaz is missing. Whilst the protests have been increasing inside Syria we have created a task team to deal with this issue very strategically.
Anas al Hamati, our hostage negotiator from Yemen, having previous experience, being an Arab and understanding the culture and language is an integral part of that team. The "team" members inside Syria and Turkey have been very active and the last three days have been particularly productive.
Our limitation to make more detailed progress has been airstrikes and internal discord between certain groups.
But in spite of these challenges we have received excellent co-operation through "connected" people who, through their own individual research and "networks" have confirmed that Shiraaz is alive (just their word on this but no proof of life), they confirm the group that is holding him (though there is discrepancy between the different members of this group), they know the location where Shiraaz is held.
From all our interactions with the different people including a high profile Syrian journalist it appears that their information is credible. We can't independently verify it as yet but we are not ignoring it. In the next 48 hours we are expecting more information so we wait patiently.
We have a very decisive plan and will use it as leverage if the need arises. But for now we want to diplomatically and amicably resolve the issue as no one really understands why Shiraaz was taken.
It may be a case of mistaken identity so we are allowing a little more time for the processes to unfold in the best interests of Shiraaz. As an aside, we have Shiraaz's belongings, his laptop and camera.