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Korean kidnapped in waters off Gabon

(Screenshot of Google Maps-Yonhap)
(Screenshot of Google Maps-Yonhap)

Unidentified forces attacked two fishing vessels near the Gabonese capital of Libreville on Sunday and abducted six crewmen, including a South Korean, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Agence France-Presse reported earlier, citing a source close to the Gabonese government, that pirates had kidnapped three Indonesians, two Senegalese and a Korean.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the attackers placed all 18 crewmen from the two fishing vessels on one of them and moved north to waters near Corisco, an island of Equatorial Guinea. There they put six of the abductees, including the Korean skipper, on a speedboat, released the rest and fled.

“The kidnappers’ identity and whereabouts are unknown as of yet,” a ministry official said.

The ministry said it formed a task force on Sunday to inform the relevant authorities and the victim’s family of the situation, and requested assistance from the governments of Gabon, France and the US to rescue the abductees.

The Korean embassy in Gabon has also requested swift rescue efforts by the Western African country’s Foreign Ministry and navy, and has shared relevant information with the embassies of France, the US and Equatorial Guinea in Gabon.

It is the second pirate attack reported this year off the coast of Gabon.

In December, pirates attacked several boats off Libreville, abducted four Chinese seamen and killed a Gabonese skipper.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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