A video has been released by the Islamic State group purporting to show the beheading of Kenji Goto.
Circus Bazaar recently covered ISIL and the Japanese hostage situation, with statements from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the nation would do everything in their power to have the second Japanese prisoner, Kenji Goto released.
The recording, which lasted about one minute, featured the same black-clad militant with a British accent, responsible for several beheadings. Known as “Jihadi John,” he gives a chilling message to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the government of Japan:
“You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah’s grace, are an Islamic caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for your blood. Because of your reckless decision to take part in an un-winnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin.”
The White House released via Twitter a “Statement by President Obama on the Death of Kenji Goto” condemning the heinous murder and reaffirming its solidarity with the Japanese people and government. Obama closed with the reminder that, “the United State will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”
A humanitarian and freelance reporter respected among his peers, Kenji Goto had been reporting from conflict zones since 1996. He was in Syria to raise awareness of the plight of children caught up in war zones.
An emergency Cabinet meeting was convened by Abe upon being alerted of the news. He told reporters, “I feel indignation over this immoral and heinous act of terrorism. When I think of the grief of his family, I am left speechless.”
Japanese officials have deemed the video of the beheading “highly likely to be authentic;” though the Associated Press have yet to gain independent verification of the video, they agree that it conforms to the other recorded beheadings released by the extremists.
ISIL initially demanding $200 million for the release of Goto and fellow Japanese prisoner Haruna Yukawa. After a 72-hour deadline, Yukawa was beheaded last Saturday. The ransom demands were then switched to a prisoner swap and the Jordanian government inadvertently found itself under the same pressure as the Japanese. ISIL released a video where a man claiming to be Goto said Jordan had 24 hours to release al-Qaida prisoner and failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, otherwise both he and Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was captured back in December would die. That deadline passed at sunset on Thursday, leaving the families of Goto and Kaseasbeh in agony.
The Jordanian government responded and said they were ready to release Sajida al-Rishawi. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah confirmed last Wednesday that his country asked ISIL for proof that the captured pilot was “alive and safe.” The only response from ISIL however, was reiterating its Goto-for-Rishawi offer. Late on Friday, Japan’s deputy foreign minister reported a deadlock in negotiation efforts. Late the following day, the recorded beheading of Goto was released.
In wake of the incident, the Japanese government has heightened security measures at overseas embassies and facilities. With attention now on the fate of Kaseasbeh, candlelit vigils are being held in his hometown in southern Jordan.