The Korea Herald


Korean workers in Libya evacuate after intrusion

By 신용배

Published : Feb. 19, 2011 - 22:45

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   About 70 South Korean construction workers in Libya had to evacuate after angry local residents broke into their work site and dorms apparently in protest of the government's housing policy, the foreign ministry said Saturday.

   About 200 local residents forced their way into a South Korean
construction site in Derna in eastern Libya at around midnight
Thursday (local time) and then stormed into a nearby dormitory on
Friday night, according to their company in Seoul.

   The attackers set fire to a part of the dorms but no one
appears to have been hurt, the foreign ministry said.

   "The exact extent of damage will be assessed after they leave
the occupied place," a ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

   After the intrusion, about 70 Korean workers evacuated to a
nearby Muslim school, company officials said.

   "Anticipating that the residents would soon break into the
dorms, we tried to block the entrance with various equipment," one
of the workers in Libya told Yonhap News Agency by phone. "We had
no other option but to flee."

   A similar incident at the same work site last month resulted in
millions of dollars of property damage.

   "As far as we know, there was no clash between the local people
and Koreans," a ministry official in Seoul said. "We have asked the
local police to protect (them)."

   The South Korean company involved, whose name was not made
public, said it is negotiating with the Libyan government on
compensation and other matters through diplomatic channels.

   "We are monitoring the current situation, but we have not made
any special protection measures or withdrawal plan," a company
official said, asking not to be identified. (Yonhap News)