A South African photojournalist kidnapped in northern Syria three years ago has safely returned home, his family said Friday.

“Owing to his recent circumstances, he and his family have requested that they be given some space,” the family said in a short statement. It added “they will in due course issue a statement and engage with the media.’’

Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in early 2017 while documenting Syrian refugees in Darkush. His captors were demanding $1.5 million in ransom.

Relief agency Gift of the Givers, which took Mohamed to Syria and was leading negotiations for his release, said Dec.

Read more: South Africa reporter kidnapped in Syria arrives home