Second Hostage Executed

Michael Tobin, Advertising & Web Editor

It would seem, with Ebola, Ferguson and the recent updates on the Ukrainian situation, that American focus is no longer on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Unfortunately, ISIS has not lost focus on its goal of taking over as much land as possible and starting their own caliphate.  We’ve lost track of the bloody ground war going on as we speak, and the international aerial campaign taking place above the ground at the same time.  However, we have not lost track of what ISIS continues to proudly broadcast: beheading videos.

The list of men brutally butchered on and off camera continues to grow.  Last week’s news on the subject: a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot were both in mortal peril, as ISIS insisted their demands be acquiesced soon or the two would be executed.  Kenji Goto Jogo and Mu’adh Safi Yusuf al-Kasasibah were held captive by the terrorist group that began its rapid expansion this past summer.  ISIS warned that their ransom clock is running out.

The price for their freedom is the return of Sajida al-Rishawi.  Al-Rishawi has been imprisoned in Jordan for nine years after a string of attacks on hotels in Amman, Jordan. While al-Kasasibah is a military prisoner, Jogo was a journalist brought to the war-torn region for professional and personal reasons.  Jogo was known for his interest in publicizing war tragedies, but part of the reason he was present was because of the late Haruna Yukawa.

Tragically, a video purportedly of Jogo’s beheading was released since last week.

But why was Kenji Goto Jogo there anyway?  Because of his friend Yukawa.

Haruna Yukawa, who is believed to have been recently murdered by ISIS militants, was in Syria posing as a security consultant for Japanese companies in the area.  Yukawa was a widower with a troubled past, and the reasons for why he took up his job can only be speculated.  He was captured by ISIS, who demanded $200 million from the Japanese government.  Japan refused to pay this earlier ransom, and a video released purports Yukawa’s execution.  But what was the connection between Jogo and Yukawa?

Jogo and Yukawa, two men of vastly different personalities and temperament, became friends over their shared interest in the Syrian conflicts and the symbiotic relationship that cropped up between them.  Goto hoped Yukawa could teach him to survive war torn environments, while Yukawa was simply proud to know Goto because of Goto’s noble endeavors as a journalist.  Yukawa was captured and Goto reportedly pursued him to negotiate for his life, ultimately ending up an executed prisoner as well.

The fate of the Jordanian pilot ransomed with Jogo is yet unknown.

Multiple sources contributed to this article, including: Fox News’ “ISIS threatens Obama, Japanese and Jordanian hostages in new online messages,” The Guardian’s “Haruna Yukawa: death in the desert marks a violent end to a troubled life,” and Wikipedia’s “Kenji Goto.”