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South African journalist kidnapped over 'misunderstanding' with Syrian gunmen Open in fullscreen

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South African journalist kidnapped over 'misunderstanding' with Syrian gunmen

Shiraaz Mohamed's kidnappers promised to release him on Thursday [AP photo]

Date of publication: 15 January, 2017

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A freelance South African photojournalist has been kidnapped in Syria and is still captive despite assurances by kidnappers he would only be held for two days.

A South African photojournalist has been kidnapped along with two aid workers in the northern Syrian town of Darkouch, an aid group said Saturday.

Shiraaz Mohammed was kidnapped while on a "relatively safe route" out of the war-torn country, near a medical facility operated by Gift of the Givers on Tuesday, the charity's founder Imtiaz Sooliman said.

"When they passed the Gift of the Givers al-Hilal Hospital, two cars suddenly boxed them in," Sooliman said in a text message to AFP.

The kidnappers then released the two aid workers, however, said they would be interrogating Mohammed to clear up a "misunderstanding".

They added that he would be released after two days at the same hospital where the abduction took place, according to Sooliman.

"They asked if Shiraaz is a foreigner. Our people replied 'yes'. They asked if he has a passport. They said 'yes'. They asked if he's Muslim. They said 'yes'," Sooliman said.

When asked about their identity, the gunmen claimed to "represent all groups inside Syria", he added.

Despite the kidnappers' promise to free him, Mohammed was not released on Thursday. 

South Africa's foreign ministry has been contacted by AFP, however they were unable to confirm the kidnapping.

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