UNITED NATIONS, February 1 (Sputnik) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the execution of Japanese freelance reporter Kenji Goto by Islamic State (IS) extremists who have released a video capturing the killing.
The United Nations said in a statement Saturday that Ban Ki-moon "condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric murder of Kenji Goto. His death underscores the violence that so many have been subjected to in Iraq and Syria".
The most recent Goto video IS extremists have released shows the Japanese hostage kneeling in front of a masked man armed with a knife. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani has said he could not refute reports of Goto's killing.
On January 24, IS released a video depicting Kenji Goto holding an image of what appeared to be the beheaded body of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa. Earlier, IS militants demanded a ransom of $200 million for the release of both Japanese captives.
On Tuesday, a voice in another IS video, claiming to be Kenji Goto, warned that he and Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath Kasaesbeh would be killed within 24 hours if they were not exchanged for Sajida Rishawi, a failed Iraqi suicide bomber facing the death sentence in Jordan.
On Wednesday, a Jordanian government spokesperson said that the country was ready to release the Iraqi bomber in exchange for Kasaesbeh.
IS, a radical Sunni group also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has captured vast areas in Iraq and Syria. It has become known for a number of atrocities, such as public crucifixions and beheadings of captured prisoners, including European journalists.
Goto and Kasaesbeh were abducted by IS in Syria in 2014.