Video: Terrorists Murder Hostage Akihiko Saito

Akihiko Saito, a Japanese man working as a U.S. Defense Department contractor in Iraq, has been murdered by the so-called Army of Ansar al-Sunnah. The group has posted a video on its website with what purports to be Saito’s body.

Iraq militant group says Saito died after being injured in shooting (Japan Today)

Akihiko Saito, a Japanese security consultant who has been missing in Iraq since an Iraqi militant group ambushed a convoy he was riding in earlier in May, has died from injuries after being shot, according to the group.

The Sunni militant group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, has posted on its website an image of what appears to be a dead man, whom it claims is Saito, along with images of his passport and ID card.

Digger has a photo of Saito’s ID card, which is a U.S. DoD Common Access Card for contractors, similar to the one I carry. He also has several gruesome photos as well as the four minute video.

Chad Evans, who was apparently the first in the blogosphere to link the video, observes,

I am sad to hear the loss of Saito, however I do believe it was better he died from wounds suffered in the attack than at the hands of Ansar al-Sunnah̢۪s own Islamic trials. Surely the brutal torture Saito went through while in Ansar al-Sunnah̢۪s custody could not have helped out matters.

Indeed. Ansar al-Sunnah carried out several gruesome beheadings of hostages, so death by bullet is indeed preferable.

Rusty Shackleford had extensive coverage of Saito being taken hostage on May 9.

Update: He’s got more on the latest developments now.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.