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Published: Thursday January 23, 2014 MYT 5:35:02 AM
Updated: Thursday January 23, 2014 MYT 5:35:50 AM

Abducted South Korean trade official freed in Libya - government

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A South Korean trade official kidnapped earlier this week in Tripoli has been freed by Libyan security forces, the Libyan government said on Wednesday.

The Yonhap News Agency had reported that four men abducted Han Seok-woo, the head of trade relations at the Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency, as he was leaving work in the Libyan capital at the weekend.

Libya's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday the trade attaché was freed by security forces with the cooperation of citizens in the neighbourhood where he was detained and was now in the South Korean Embassy in good health.

"The people who kidnapped him were not ideologically or politically motivated. Some of the kidnappers were arrested," a ministry spokesman said.

No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Han, who took up his post in July 2012.

Foreigners have been targeted in several incidents recently. An American teacher was shot dead in Benghazi in December and in January, a British man and a New Zealand woman were killed execution-style on a beach in western Libya.

Security has deteriorated in Libya two years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi with the government struggling to control former rebels, militias and Islamist militants in the vast North African country still awash with weapons.

(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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