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Military repatriates stranded citizens from Africa

South Koreans stranded in Africa are picked up by the military on a charter flight on the way home from South Sudan. (Ministry of National Defense)
South Koreans stranded in Africa are picked up by the military on a charter flight on the way home from South Sudan. (Ministry of National Defense)

Sixty South Koreans who were stranded in Africa due to suspended air travel amid the coronavirus pandemic returned home late Friday on a charter flight.

South Korea’s military ran the flight Monday to rotate a batch of troops for the Hanbit Unit stationed in South Sudan, and on the way home, Korean residents in Africa boarded the plane in adjoining Ethiopia.

Thirty-six had come from Ghana, 13 from Kenya, 10 from Ethiopia and 1 from Sudan. Medical and other support staff were on board to check for infections.

Deployed in 2011 to aid in South Sudan’s reconstruction, the Hanbit Unit chiefly consists of engineers and medical personnel, accompanied by an armed security detail. In March, Korea instructed only essential personnel to carry out operations there due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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