Shiraaz Mohamed. File photo: Supplied.

PRETORIA – Days after reports that kidnapped South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed had escaped from his Syrian captors, his family on Thursday pointedly accused humanitarian aid organization Gift of the Givers (GOTG) of taking him to the volatile nation, and refusing to take part in efforts to rescue him.

The Mohameds also said that GOTG was endangering their son by speaking to the media about his alleged escape from his captors and whereabouts.

“For two and a half years, we believed and trusted Gift of the Givers to bring my son home after the organisation took him to Syria to cover its winter campaign. We were forced to seek other help because Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman [GOTG founder] failed in his promises to free Shiraaz from his captors and bring him home to me. There was no progress, only media hype,” Shireen Mohamed, Shiraaz’s mother said in a media statement.

“For the past seven months, GOTG has not been involved in negotiations because the organisation chose not to be part of a collaborative effort to get Shiraaz home. In October 2019, we again appealed to Dr. Sooliman for help with information on other organisations or anyone else who could possibly assist us towards meeting our target of $700,000 (USD). He refused.”

She said Sooliman informed the family about Shiraaz’s escape on Saturday night, but the family already had the information ‘through the efforts of our collaborative partners”.