Erbil–A Japanese freelance journalist covering the fighting in Iraq has been detained in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan Region by Kurdish authorities for suspected links to ISIS.
Japan’s Kyodo News agency said that journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka was reporting on the battle to recapture the city of Mosul from ISIS.
Kyodo said he is being held by the Kurdish militia known as the Peshmerga.
A highly informed security source told Rudaw news agency that Tsuneoka was arrested by the Kurdish Asayesh security forces and is now under questioning. “He is suspected to be a member of ISIS,” he said.
He added that Tsuneoka converted to Islam, had good contacts with Chechen militants fighting for ISIS and had spent time in the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria. The security official also mentioned that an investigation is underway and he will be handed over to the Japanese consulate in Erbil.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga confirmed the arrest. Reuters reported Suga as saying that Japan was aware that Tsuneoka was being detained by “government authorities of the Kurdish region.”
“We are still confirming details of his charges with local authorities,” Suga said.
He added that the Japanese Embassy in Iraq was requesting access to Tsuneoka and calling for appropriate treatment of him while he is being investigated.