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IS-Linked Twitter Accounts Release New Video Of Japanese Hostage

Japanese journalist Kenji Goto reports from the embattled Syrian town of Kobani in October 2014.

Japanese journalist Kenji Goto reports from the embattled Syrian town of Kobani in October 2014.

Twitter accounts linked to the Islamic State (IS) group have released a new video that purportedly features an audio message from Japanese hostage Kenji Goto Jogo.

The video, released on the afternoon of January 27, shows a picture of Goto and an audio message in English.

The short video is titled The Second Public Message Of Kenjo Goto Jogo To His Family And The Government Of Japan.

However, it is notable that the video does not include features that are usually present on IS videos including the logo of the IS group's media wing, Al-Hayat. The video looks similar to a video released on January 25, which also included a static image of Goto holding a photograph and an audio message claimed to be from Goto.

The audio message in the January 27 video, again purportedly spoken by Goto, says that the IS group will execute Goto and another hostage, the Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh, unless the Jordanian government release an Iraqi woman, would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, within 24 hours.

The voice on the audio message says:

"I'm Kenji Goto Jogo. To Rinko, the people of Japan, and the Japanese government, I've been told this is my last message, and I've been told the barrier obstructing my freedom is now just the Jordanian government delaying the handover of Sajida. Tell the Japanese government to put all their political pressure on Jordan. Time is now running very short. It is me for her. What seems so difficult to understand? She has been a prisoner for a decade, and I've only been a prisoner for a few months. Her for me. A straight exchange. Any more delays by the Jordanian government will mean they're responsible for the death of their pilot, which will then be followed by mine. I only have 24 hours left to live, and the pilot has even less. Please don't leave us to die. Any more delaying tactics will simply see both of us getting killed. The ball is now in the Jordanians' court."

Britain's Channel 4 News tweeted that Japanese officials were trying to verify the new video message:

Earlier on January 27, a Jordanian lawmaker said that Jordan was in indirect talks with the IS group to secure the release of Goto and Kasasbeh. Bassam al-Manaseer, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Jordan's lower house of parliament, told Bloomberg that the negotiations are taking place through religious and tribal leaders in Iraq.

According to Manaseer, Japan and Jordan will not negotiate directly with the IS group and will not accept the release of Rishawi in exchange for Goto only. That precondition, however, goes against the audio message, which insists on a "straight exchange" of Goto for Rishawi.

On January 26, Japan's state minister for foreign affairs, Yasuhide Nakayama, told reporters in Jordan that Japan "would like to work together with the Jordanian government to secure the release of Goto."

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena