• I-S militants demand large ransom for Japanese hostages
Self proclaimed Islamic State militants have released a new video threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless a $200 million ransom is paid. 
21 Jan 2015 - 2:04 PM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2015 - 3:00 PM

I-S militants have released a new video threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless a $ 200 million ransom is paid.

It's the same amount of money Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe pledged in an aid package to countries fighting the I-S group.

 

Mr Abe has condemned the video, promising no harm will come to the Japanese civilians.

 

The chilling online video resembles other hostage threats made by I-S militants.

 

It shows the same desert setting, the same orange jumpsuits worn by the hostages.

 

The man speaking appears to be the same British-accented militant - dubbed Jihad John by the British media - involved in other beheadings by the group.

 

The man says the Japanese hostages were targeted to compensate for Japan's recent funding pledge to countries fighting I-S.

 

"To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,500 kilometres away from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade. You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims. So the life of this Japanese citizen will cost you $100 million. And in an attempt to stop the expansion of the Islamic State you also donated another $100 million to train them or to deal against the mujahideen and so the life of this Japanese citizen will cost you another $100 million."

 

The two hostages are identified as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa.

 

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe has described the video as unforgiving, and says Japan will not give in to terrorism.

 

"It is an unacceptable act to threaten us in exchange for human lives and I feel angry about it. I strongly urge them to immediately release the hostages without harming them."

 

The United Nations has expressed its concerns about the fate of two Japanese nationals.

 

Spokesman for U-N Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Stephane Dujarric says Mr Ban also calls for the hostages to be released.

 

"Well obviously the Secretary-General is very concerned about the fate of these two hostages. We saw the video as he is concerned about the fate of all people that have been taken hostage by armed groups, especially Daesh and other armed groups whether it be in Iraq or Syria and once again he calls for the immediate release of all hostages."

 

The U-N High Commission for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani says I-S, which holds territory in Syria and Iraq, has killed civilians in brutal fashion.

 

She says other purported executions by the group - also known as ISIL - show what she calls "monstrous disregard" for human life.

"Last week, ISIL posted photos on the web of two men being crucified after they were accused of banditry. The men were hung up by their arms and then shot dead. Photos were also posted of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery. We have received numerous other reports of women who have been executed by ISIL in Mosul and other areas under the group's control, often immediately following sentences passed by its so-called 'sharia courts'."

 

A political analyst says the ransom request of $200 million for the two Japanese hostages is a clear response to the Japanese prime minister's recent visit to the Middle East.

 

Shinzo Abe pledged $ 200-million in non-military aid for countries fighting the militants in Iraq and Syria during his trip.

 

Greg Ohannessian is a Middle East Political and Defence analyst at Inegma, the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

 

He's told CCTV since 2008, I-S militants have made millions from ransoms.

 

"Hostage taking is a big business. Globally it's a $ 1.5 billion industry and ISIS, has made at least $130 to $140 million since 2008 in ransoms."