Fighting global terrorism

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Fighting global terrorism

A South Korean social worker was abducted and later found dead in Yemen just three months after a suicide bomb claimed the lives of four South Korean tourists in the impoverished country on the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula.

Eom Young-sun, 34, was one of three women discovered dead. She had been among nine foreigners working for the World Wide Services Foundation, a Dutch aid group providing medical care in Yemen.

They were kidnapped while on a picnic in a remote area last week. Others in the group were mostly Germans, with one Briton.

Although the crime appears to be random and not aimed at any particular nationality, we need to raise the alarm since there has been an increasing number of terrorist threats against South Koreans.

The 12 million South Koreans traveling abroad every year are becoming more vulnerable to random violence against foreigners in some countries.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for Eom’s kidnapping and murder but many suspect an Al-Qaeda connection. Unlike other abductions in Yemen, no ransom demand has been delivered so far.

Al-Qaeda has been building up its presence in mountainous, easy-to-hide Yemen in recent years, using the country as a base for launching attacks on Western targets.

A Yemeni government investigation found that the March bomb attack on South Korean tourists was part of an Al-Qaeda campaign to display its resilience and strength to the Western world.

The government must toughen safety measures for South Korean workers and visitors to Yemen and other regions that offer easy access to Al-Qaeda operatives. But it should also consider banning travel to Yemen as it has done with other violent regions like Afghanistan and Somalia.

Yemen is now a “travel restricted” area. Koreans are advised not to travel there unless on urgent business. It’s a reminder for travelers that they need to be more aware about safety precautions before and during visits to unsafe places.

We also need to consider playing a more active role in the U.S.-led campaign to fight terrorism. We cannot let others fight a battle in which an increasing number of our nationals are becoming involved.

We must make contributions according to our economic and diplomatic strengths, and we need to raise our voices in the global field. We should demonstrate that we, too, are prepared to combat global terrorism.
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