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Abducted South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed returns home

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Abducted South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed returns home

South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2017, is back home, his family says.

He was working for the charity Gift of the Givers, documenting the effects of the civil war when he was taken.

He was captured near the Turkish border by suspected members of the Islamic State group. But no group has said they were behind the abduction.

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It is unclear what led to his release but Gift of the Givers said Mr. Mohamed escaped last month.

The photojournalist’s family has said they would give more details later, but “owing to his recent circumstances, he and our family are requesting that we are given some space”.

The photojournalist was captured in January 2017 near a hospital run by Gift of the Givers, which is a South African charity.

In an email he wrote to a close friend and fellow journalist days before his abduction, Mr. Mohamed spoke of his hopes for the near future.

“This is a personal project for me… I feel that it is the least that I can do for the Syrians.”

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South Africa’s foreign affairs ministry told the AFP news agency that it had been working to release Mr. Mohamed “from day one”.

“That he is finally home is something we are really really happy about,” spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele added.

A recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found Syria to be the deadliest country for journalists to work in. Seven were murdered in 2019 alone, the CPJ said.

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