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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.