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Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

S. Korean hostage found shot dead

July 26, 2007

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— Afghan police discovered the bullet-riddled body of a male hostage on Wednesday, one of 23 South Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban last week.

Because of a recent spike in kidnappings - including an attempt against a Danish citizen Wednesday - police announced foreigners were no longer allowed to leave the Afghan capital without their permission.

The South Korean victim was found with 10 bullet holes in his head, chest and stomach in the Mushaki area of Qarabagh district in Ghazni province, the region where the group was seized July 19 while riding a bus, said Abdul Rahman, a police officer.

A police official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, said militants told him that the hostage was sick and could not walk and was therefore executed.

A South Korean public broadcaster, KBS, identified the victim as 42-year-old pastor Bae Hyung-kyu.

A Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose information, said reports had circulated Wednesday that eight of the hostages had been released. But he said those reports had never been confirmed.

Marajudin Pathan, the governor of Ghazni province, said the militants were still holding the remaining 22 South Korean hostages.

"No one has been released, and there has not been any exchange," Pathan told The Associated Press over the phone. "They are still in Taliban custody."

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