“It’s good to be back in the country. It’s good to be back with my family. ”

That’s how the once-missing photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed said in a video released over the weekend. This is the first time Shiraaz has been addressing the public since coming home earlier this month. He was long detained by members of the Islamic State after kidnapping him in Syria three years ago.

Shiraaz sits in the video tightly according to his mother, Shireen Mohamed. The two hold hands.

“Too many people to thank. Too many names to mention. I thank everyone who assisted my family, everyone who helped with my release, everyone who comforted my family and everyone for their prayers and any other support they offered, ”says Shiraaz.

In the video, Shireen also expresses her gratitude to, among others, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa who helped with her son’s homecoming.

“I would like to thank our government for standing with us. I would also like to thank my president for helping us, ”says Shireen.

Shiraaz was kidnapped on January 10, 2017 in Darkush, Syria. He initially went there to document the suffering of ordinary Syrian civilians because of the war.

According to the charity Gift of the Givers, Shiraaz escaped from custody in December. He crossed the Turkish border and was handed over to the country’s intelligence authorities who helped him return home.

Mohamed says he still needs time at home before he will allow interviews.

Watch the video here:

Message from Shiraaz Mohamed and his Mother ❤ Shukraan to everyone that has kept Shiraaz in your duahs 🙏🤲🌷

Posted by Sakeena Louw on Sunday, January 26, 2020

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