By Nobuhiro Kubo and Ju-min Park TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea may launch a rocket that it says will carry an earth observation satellite as soon as Sunday, after bringing forward and shortening the time frame for the launch, the Japanese and South Korean governments said on Saturday. North Korea had earlier told the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) it would launch the rocket some time between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25, triggering international opposition from governments that see it as a long-range missile test. Japan and South Korea said North Korea had issued a Notice to Airmen that the launch would take place some time between Sunday and the following Sunday, Feb. 14.
The recording by the al Mourabitoun branch of AQIM, released on its official Telegram channel, also said the group had decided to release one of the captives - a woman - unconditionally. "The primary motive behind their kidnapping was an attempt to (gain) release of our captives who sit behind bars and suffer the pain of imprisonment, as well as being deprived of their basic rights," the recording stated. Dr Ken Elliott and his wife, Jocelyn, who are in their 80s, have operated a 120-bed clinic in the town of Djibo for more than 40 years.