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S. Korea confirms kidnapped official safe

Updated: 2014-01-21 10:54
( Xinhua)

SEOUL - South Korea's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that its trade official kidnapped in Libya was safe up to now, vowing its all-out efforts to bring him home as early as possible.

"It has been confirmed that the abducted is safe," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young told a routine press briefing.

Cho said that the South Korean government has been making utmost efforts to make the kidnapped return home as early and safe as possible, but the spokesman declined to confirm other details such as if the kidnappers were demanding ransom and whether they have already contacted the South Koran authorities.

Han Seok-woo, head of the Libya unit of the state-funded Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), was kidnapped by four unidentified armed men in Libyan capital city Tripoli at around 5:30 pm Sunday local time on his way home after work.

The whereabouts of Han, the identity of his kidnappers and their demand remained  unknown.

The spokesman said that the ministry issued a warning against traveling to Libya starting from Monday, urging all South Korean nationals to refrain from visiting the country.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry has established an emergency task force to win the early release of Han and required the Libyan government to work together to locate the kidnappers and free the trade official.

Han, 39, has worked in the Tripoli office since July 2012.

It was the first time that a South Korean has been abducted in Libya, where public security has been problematic.

Since the ouster of Libya's long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the country remained in shambles despite authorities' efforts to quell rising lawlessness and impose authority.


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