Fears mount for safety of SA doctor missing in Syria

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Fears are mounting for the safety of a South African doctor who is missing in Syria. The Times quotes attorney Yousha Tayob as saying that he had received information that Dr Feroze Ganchi, 48, from Durban, may have been caught up in an airstrike on a refugee camp where he was working.

“The doc committed himself to assisting Muslims wherever he could,” said Tayob.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said in the report: “We know about the matter from media and friends who called us. Only when somebody has presented themselves to our mission in Syria will we have confirmed facts, but we are aware of this matter.”

It was reported over the weekend that Ganchi was missing. He and his wife Saffiya have been in Syria for three years. He is believed to have sometimes travelled under a pseudonym.

The report says Ganchi was arrested by Egyptian security police in 2009 and detained in Cairo when he was travelling with humanitarian aid organisation Gift of the Givers en route to Gaza. He was held in Pakistan in 2004 on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda.

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