South Korea on Wednesday imposed a travel ban on Libya again as spiraling violence in the African country has raised security concerns.
Seoul's foreign ministry said it decided to raise its travel alert for Libya by one notch to the highest level, citing grave concerns for security in the country. The move will be effective for six months.
Since mid-July, South Korea, which has a four-tier travel advisory system, has strongly recommended that local companies withdraw their staff or reduce the number of their workers at an early date, the ministry said.
In 2011, Seoul put a travel ban on Libya amid intense anti-government protests and lifted it at the end of that year.
The move will require all Koreans staying there to leave Libya and ban its nationals from entering the country with some exceptional cases, the foreign ministry said.
The move comes as intensifying violence between armed militias in the city of Tripoli has raised alertness about security there.
The United Nations and the United States have withdrawn their staff and nationals from Libya, and some countries have told their citizens to leave, according to foreign reports.
Seoul's foreign ministry said that it plans to set up a task force to support Koreans' move to leave the country in the near future. It said it will also seek to consult with authorities in Tunisia to check land routes for evacuation.
Currently, about 20 Korean companies, mostly builders, are doing business in Libya, with an estimated 900 South Koreans staying there. (Yonhap)