Kidnapped S. Korean official freed in Libya

January 23, 2014

(Yonhap) A South Korean trade official who was abducted by Libyan gunmen earlier this week was released unharmed on Thursday after Libyan forces arrested the kidnappers, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

Han Seok-woo, the chief of the Libya unit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), was sent to the South Korean Embassy in Libya at around 4:15 a.m. (Korean time) after being rescued from the gunmen who had kidnapped Han on his way home in Tripoli on Monday.

“Han is in good health and was handed over to the South Korean embassy,” the ministry said in a statement.

The four kidnappers were arrested in Tripoli by Libyan security authorities and found to be members of an armed group, according to the statement.

“Our government appreciates the Libyan government’s close cooperation in rescuing Han and extends its gratitude,” the ministry said.

Seoul had been striving to win the safe release of Han without paying ransom to the kidnappers, it noted.

It has not been determined yet when Han will return to South Korea, added the ministry.

Libya is feared to slip further into instability as its government has been grappling with heavily armed militia and gangs who still control large parts of the country.