Religious leaders urge release of remaining Korean hostages

WCC head visits families
As religious leaders around the world called for the release of South Korean church volunteers held hostage in Afghanistan, the head of the World Council of Churches visited in mid-August with families of the humanitarian workers caught up in the ongoing fight between the U.S.-backed government and the overthrown Taliban.

Methodist minister Samuel Kobia, WCC general secretary, met August 14 with some of the families while on a trip to South Korea. The day before, the militant Muslims released two women in what the kidnappers called a gesture of good will.

Following the July 19 abduction of 23 Koreans from a bus, the captors demanded the release of 21 Taliban fighters held in Afghan and American custody. The kidnapping victims were from Saemmul Community Church (Presbyterian) in Bundang, South Korea. Their leader, Bae Hyung-Kyu, 42, was found dead July 25. A second hostage, Shim Sung-min, 29, was reported dead July 31.


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