10/01/2018 06:44 SAST | Updated 10/01/2018 06:44 SAST

Captured South African Photographer Shiraaz Mohamed Is Still Alive

The Gift of the Givers says Shiraaz is still alive in Syria.

Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
People gather at the Lenasia South Civic Centre to pray for the South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who was kidnapped in Syria last year.

South African photographer Shiraaz Mohamed, who was captured in Syria, is alive, Business Day reported. The Gift of the Givers organisation, which has spearheaded the search for Mahomed, reportedly announced this on Tuesday.

Mahomed was kidnapped in Syria in January 2017 and has not been heard from since. He and two others had been on their way to the Turkish border, planning to leave Syria, when they were captured. It is not clear why he was captured or by whom. His captors reportedly promised to return him in two days, but he was not seen again.

Thirteen days later, Gift of the Givers said it had good reason to believe Mohamed was still alive.

On Tuesday, the organisation said it had received answers to 10 questions it had sent to Mohamed's captors, proving that he was alive.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), this followed an anonymous call on December 26. The caller said that Mohamed was alive. Mohamed's family confirmed that all 10 questions were correctly answered, indicating that they were answered by Mohamed himself.

News24 reported that the anonymous caller warned Gift of the Givers not to talk to anyone else, and said "we are the door to Shiraaz". Gift of the Givers head Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman reportedly said that the organisation had received eight different tip-offs that Mohamed was alive since September last year.

Some of the questions sent to Mohamed include:

Which country is Shiraaz's brother-in-law from?

Who dropped Shiraaz off at the airport before he left for Turkey/Syria?

What does Shiraaz's brother-in-law do for a living?

Mohamed's sister, Sumaya, reportedly said the news had renewed the family's hope that Mohamed would return home safely, according to the Mail & Guardian.

"We are very happy with the news, it brings added hope especially during my mother's illness. We ask that everyone continue to pray for our brother's safe and swift return," she reportedly said.