Japanese journalist tricked Afghan captors into letting him tweet

On Monday, Journalism.co.uk reported on the release of Kosuke Tsuneoka, a freelance Japanese journalist, who had been freed after being held captive by soldiers for five months in northern Afghanistan.

Kosuke Tsuneoka had been missing since 1 April, when a message posted to his Twitter account indicated he had travelled to a Taliban-controlled region of northern Afghanistan. According to the Associated Press, friends then received information that he had been kidnapped.

Tsuneoka’s Twitter account then lay unused until last Friday, when a post appeared in English saying “I am alive, but in jail”. He was reportedly released to the Japanese Embassy on Saturday.

But new details have emerged as to how Tsuneoka managed to send the tweets that led to his release. According to reports, the journalist managed to send the messages from one of his captor’s phones.

Says IDG Net via PC World:

The soldier had heard of the internet, but he didn’t know what it was. When Tsuneoka mentioned it to him, he was eager to see it, but the phone wasn’t signed up to receive the carrier’s GPRS data service for accessing the Internet.

“I called the customer care number and activated the phone,” he said. Soon after he had the captor’s phone configured for internet access (…) “But if you are going to do anything, you should use Twitter,” he said he told them. “They asked what that was. And I told them that if you write something on it, then you can reach many Japanese journalists. So they said, ‘try it’.”

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