A South Korean trade agency employee kidnapped in Libya has been confirmed to be unharmed, a ranking government official said Tuesday.
Han Seok-woo, the head of the Libya unit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), was abducted Monday by four unidentified Libyan gunmen on his way home, prompting Seoul to ramp up efforts to win his release.
"Han has been confirmed to be unharmed," the official said, without disclosing how he confirmed his safety and who was behind the abduction.
The government is considering all possibilities for who is behind the kidnapping, the official said, adding that "but for now, it is unlikely that a political motive is behind the abduction."
The government has been maintaining confidentiality in dealing with abduction cases, but the official's remarks are seen as indicating that the government may have located the culprit and begun negotiations to free Han.
Ransom may be the motive for the kidnapping, experts said, citing the absence of terrorist groups claiming the abduction.
The official said that the government will avail of all public and private channels to secure the release of Han, including diplomatic routes and the South Korean community in Libya.
"We are receiving information and help from countries close to Libya and our allies that are very knowledgeable about internal affairs in Libya. We also hope to see more cooperation from them," the official said. (Yonhap News)