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Another Kidnapping of Koreans in Nigeria

Posted May. 04, 2007 03:20,   


Three Korean employees of Daewoo Construction Co. have been kidnapped in Nigeria.

Kidnappings of Korean workers in the nation have taken place before in which all were released in June 2006 and January 2007.

Daewoo and the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that at around 1:20 a.m. local time on April 3, a group of 50 to 100 armed men broke into the construction site of a plant in Afam, one hour’s drive away from Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria.

The armed group kidnapped three Daewoo executives (Managing Director Jeong Tae-yeong, 52; Managing Director Ahn Jong-tae, 53; and General Manager Ha Ik-hwan, 50), eight Philippine workers, and one local driver, and stole a vehicle. Later, the driver was released. Daewoo said, “The kidnapping triggered a fierce firefight with Nigerian soldiers and armed policemen, who had been protecting the site, for about 20 minutes. The shooting killed a policeman and a soldier and injured a private guard.”

The construction field has been considered safe as it is located inland away from the coast where abductions have occurred many times before. A total of 1,755 workers, including 148 Koreans, work in the area.

The hostages’ whereabouts are not exactly known, however, they are said to be safe. The identity of the kidnappers is still unknown.

The Korean government set up a local task force led by Lee Ki-dong, the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, and is striving to identify the group. In the meantime, Lee Ji-ha, the Korean Ambassador to the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire was sent to the region.

koh@donga.com weappon@donga.com