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South Korean trade official abducted in Libya, report says

[File photo] Libyan gunmen roam along Zawiyah Street in the Libyan capital Tripoli on January 3, 2012.

Story highlights

  • South Korean taken from his car in Tripoli, Yonhap News Agency reports
  • His whereabouts and motive for abduction unknown
  • Seoul tells South Koreans in Libya to leave the North African country
  • Libya government struggling to impose law and order

Gunmen abducted a South Korean trade official in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, South Korea's semiofficial Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, in the latest violent incident highlighting the turmoil in the North African country.

Quoting South Korean officials, Yonhap said four unidentified, armed men abducted Han Seok-woo, 39, when he was heading home from work in the coastal city on Sunday.

Han is the head of the Libya unit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The gunmen stopped Han's car, took him and drove westward, Yonhap quoted a South Korean foreign ministry official as saying. It said there had been no word from the kidnappers yet. Their identities and the reason for the abduction were unknown.

Han is understood to be unharmed so far, Yonhap reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified South Korean government official.

Libya's government and fragile state security forces are struggling to impose law and order in a country awash with weapons left over from the 2011 war that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Militias, former rebel fighters and militants have refused to lay down their arms and often resort to force to impose their demands on the weak central authorities.

This month, gunmen shot dead Libya's deputy industry minister in the first assassination of a transitional government official since Gadhafi's ouster in October 2011.

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Editors' Note: This article has been edited to remove plagiarized content after CNN discovered multiple instances of plagiarism by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former CNN news editor.