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Korean and Filipino Hostages Released 315 Days after Abduction in Libya

Written: 2019-05-17 12:07:49Updated: 2019-05-17 17:53:49

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: The presidential office said that a South Korean man who was abducted in Libya last year has been released. The government thanked the crown prince of Abu Dhabi for taking an active role in winning the release of the 62-year old man.
Kim Bum-soo has more. 

Report: In a video clip released through a Libyan media outlet in August last year, four men are seen captive with an armed man behind them. One of the four identified himself as a Korean, pleading for his release to the South Korean president in English.

[Sound bite: 218 News (Aug. 1, 2018)]  
"Please help me, President. Our country South Korea."

The government won the release of the kidnapped South Korean citizen from an armed group in southern Libya, almost a year after he was taken hostage. 

[Sound bite: Chung Eui-yong - S. Korean national security adviser (Korean)]  
"[South Korean] citizen Mr. Joo was safely released yesterday afternoon, 315 days after he was abducted on July 6th last year at the water management company ANC's camp in Jabal Hassouna by some ten armed assailants." 

Presidential national security adviser Chung Eui-yong held a news conference on Friday, saying the 62-year old man, identified by his surname "Joo," is in good health. 

Three Filipinos kidnapped along with Joo were also released.

Chung said that the South Korean National Intelligence Service and the Foreign Ministry worked in close collaboration with the U.S., the U.K., France and Italy as well as the Libyan government. Without providing much detail, Chung said Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan played a key role in the release of the hostage.

[Sound bite: Chung Eui-yong - S. Korean national security adviser (Korean)]   
"In particular, I would like to convey a message of special thanks from our government and President Moon to the UAE government and Crown Prince Mohammed for playing a decisive role in Mr. Joo's release without sparing any possible support."   

During his meeting with President Moon Jae-in in Seoul in February, the crown prince promised to provide his support for the return of the Korean citizen. 

The hostage-takers were confirmed to be members of a criminal organization operating in southern Libya. An investigation into the details of the kidnapping is under way. 

[Sound bite: Chung Eui-yong - S. Korean national security adviser (Korean)]  
"The [South Korean] government makes it clear that the act of abducting a foreign national is an inhumane criminal act that can never be accepted by the international community."

Joo will return home on Saturday after staying at the South Korean mission in the United Arab Emirates.    
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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