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(LEAD) S. Korea to send envoy to Libya for hostage release efforts

All News 11:08 August 08, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with official's remarks in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to dispatch a special envoy to Libya for consultations on ways to win the release of a South Korean national kidnapped by an unidentified armed group there, a government official said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will soon send Baik Joo-hyeon, former ambassador to Kazakhstan, to the North African country as her special envoy.

The South Korean man and three Filipinos were taken hostage on July 6 in an attack on a water project site in western Libya, according to the authorities.

A video clip showing them was posted on social media last week amid the government's monthlong secret activity to locate and rescue the hostages.

The South Korean and Libyan governments have already commissioned a "world-class" risk management consulting firm to analyze the footage for a clue to the whereabouts of the hostages, according to the official.

"The results of the analysis are in use for efforts to secure their release," the official told reporters in a background briefing, adding that the government is closely cooperating with the relevant Libyan and Filipino authorities on the issue.

The envoy will fly to Libya as soon as preparations are completed, with a plan to stay there for two or three days, the official said.

Baik served as the ministry's director-general of the consular affairs bureau in the early 2010s before his stint as ambassador to Kazakhstan.

He handled efforts to resolve two kidnapping cases involving South Korean fisherman operating in waters near Somalia.

This file photo shows Baik Joo-hyeon, South Korea's former ambassador to Kazakhstan. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows Baik Joo-hyeon, South Korea's former ambassador to Kazakhstan. (Yonhap)


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