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1 Korean, 3 Filipinos held captive for nearly a month in Libya

A South Korean man and three Filipinos have been held captive in Libya for 27 days by an unidentified armed group, a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

The four were abducted at a water plant in Jabal Hasouna in western Libya on July 6, according to the official.

The Foreign Ministry said it had been making all-out efforts to secure the release of the Korean man. But it has asked the Korean press to refrain from reporting the case out of fear that the publicity could adversely affect the government’s efforts to rescue the abductee.

Screenshot from a video clip posted on the Facebook account of a Libyan media company, 218 News. (Yonhap) 
Screenshot from a video clip posted on the Facebook account of a Libyan media company, 218 News. (Yonhap) 

The armed group has so far not contacted the government or the company, and has made no demands for the release of the abductee, according to the official. The identity of the kidnappers has not been confirmed.

“As the footage was released, we believe that the kidnappers will make contact and demands,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

A video clip earlier posted on the Facebook account of a major Libyan media company, 218 News, showed those who are believed be the victims asking for help. It is not known when and how the footage was recorded.

In the footage, one of them, who claims to be a Korean, says in English, “Please help me, president, our country South Korea.” Other Filipino victims also sought help, mentioning “president.”

The Korean man appears to be relatively healthy despite his near monthlong captivity, according to the official.

“We have maintained close coordination with the Libyan government with our top priority placed on the life and safety of our people,” he said.

South Korea’s anti-piracy Cheonghae unit is stationed near the Greek island of Crete to help the rescue efforts, according to the official.

(laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)

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