Two South Koreans abducted by armed group in Nigeria released: Seoul

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Two South Koreans have been released after being abducted nearly three weeks ago by an unidentified armed group in Nigeria, the foreign ministry in Seoul said Saturday.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria and foreign workers have been targeted in the past by criminal gangs, especially those working in remote mining or construction projects.

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The two Koreans, who were abducted in southern Nigeria on December 12, are employees of Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., a major South Korean builder, according to Seoul’s Yonhap news agency.

South Korean authorities secured their custody on Friday, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, further stating that they are in good health.

The men “have been moved to a safe area after a medical examination, and have spoken to their families” via phone, the ministry said in a statement sent to AFP.

The foreign ministry said their release was secured thanks to “close cooperation” between the government in Seoul and the company, and through “collaboration” with Nigerian military, police and intelligence authorities.

It did not state if any ransom was paid.

During the abduction incident, members of the armed group killed four bodyguards, who are Nigerian soldiers, as well as two local drivers, Seoul said in the statement.

The South Korean government vowed to “continue to review the measures for the protection” of its nationals in Nigeria.

Seoul will “actively engage with relevant government agencies, businesses, and overseas Koreans to prevent kidnapping incidents,” it added.

Several Asian companies including from China and South Korea operate in Nigeria and are often involved with the country’s road and railway construction projects.

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