South Korean trade official abducted in Libya is free
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
[File photo] Libyan gunmen roam along Zawiyah Street in the Libyan capital Tripoli on January 3, 2012.
- Armed men kidnapped Han Seok-woo in Tripoli earlier this week
- He has now been rescued and handed over to embassy officials, South Korea says
- After his abduction, Seoul told South Koreans in Libya to leave the North African country
- The Libyan government is struggling to impose law and order
Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- A South Korean trade official abducted this week in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has been rescued and his kidnappers detained, authorities said Thursday.
The incident has underscored the instability plaguing the oil-rich North African country.
Han Seok-woo, the head of the Libya unit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, was handed over to the South Korean Embassy in Tripoli on Wednesday evening and is in good health, the South Korean foreign ministry said.
Libyan security forces have arrested the four men who abducted Han, 39, and determined that they were members of "an armed group," the ministry said without providing further details on their identity or the reason for the kidnapping.
It expressed its gratitude to the Libyan government for its "close cooperation" in rescuing Han.
After Han's kidnapping Sunday, the South Korean foreign ministry set up an emergency task force to deal with the abduction and dispatched a special envoy to Libya.
It also issued a warning against traveling to Libya and asked the 551 South Korean nationals living in the North African country to leave.
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.
READ: State Department: American stopped by Libyan authorities
READ: Bodies of two foreigners found on Libyan beach, officials say
Journalist Soo Bin Park reported from Seoul and CNN's Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0605 GMT (1405 HKT)
Nothing gets conspiracy theorists going more than a passenger plane crashing under mysterious circumstances -- but they're often wrong.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
He's 12 years old and going blind -- so his parents are taking him on a trip to fill his world with beautiful images.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
In some ways, the "Pope Francis effect" doesn't seem very effective at all.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day, CNN's Leading Women is inviting you to a Tweetchat.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Women journalists in the testosterone-fueled world of sports are still the target of abuse.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Photographer Zack Seckler's series presents Botswana from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique view of the savannah.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Concorde is a thing of the past, but a number of companies are racing to release the first supersonic business jet.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0029 GMT (0829 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
From U.S. President Obama's phone call to Russian President Putin, to a python swallowing a crocodile, browse photos from last week.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Did you know that the idea to mark road surfaces reportedly came from watching a milk truck drip milk on the road?
The undersea cables wiring the Earth: this is what the Internet actually looks like.
Today's five most popular stories