Update: (May 28, 2005 12:22AM PST)
The Army of Ansar al-Sunnah has released a video of what they claim is the dead body of Akihiko Saito. See Army of Ansar al-Sunnah Claims Japanese Hostage Akihiko Saito Is Dead [ Update , Video , Pics ] for the video and pictures.
Original entry from May 11, 2005 below
Akihiko Saito, 44, a former member of the Self-Defense Forces airborne brigade who was working as a security guard for a British company, was taken hostage in Iraq on May 9, 2005. He was taken hostage by the terrorist group Army Of Ansar al-Sunnah.
Army Of Ansar al-Sunnah posted a copy of his passport on the web (The Jawa Report has an image) and said that Saito was severley injured in the attack.
Negotiations are non-existent because of the trouble with trying to contact the terrorist group.
The government hastily formed a task force early Tuesday to deal with the hostage situation in Iraq, but officials admit it will be extremely difficult to contact the Ansar al-Sunnah Army militant group that has claimed to have captured Akihiko Saito.
"It's going to be very difficult to make contact with this group as it has very few ties with local religious authorities or any other entity," a government source said, referring to previous hostage cases involving Japanese in which Iraqi clergy liaised with the abductors.
Yoshinori Ono, director general of the Defense Agency, said Tuesday that Ansar al-Sunnah distributed leaflets in February in Samawah, where a Self-Defense Forces unit had been operating, labeling Japan as "dirty Buddhists who supported the United States."
On November 2, 2004 another Japanese hostage, Shosei Koda
, was beheaded
after being taken hostage on October 27, 2004
by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
's group al-Qaeda in Iraq
Tipped by: The Jawa Report
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