Three Koreans injured in Libya

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Three Koreans injured in Libya

Hundreds of Libyans raided another Korean construction site near Tripoli, Libya, yesterday, leaving three Koreans and more than a dozen Bangladeshi workers wounded, according to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This is the latest attack by Libyans on Korean construction sites, and Seoul is closely watching the growing anti-government uprising in the north African country.

The ministry said about 500 Libyans, some of them armed with knives and guns, attempted to get into the housing construction site located 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) west of the Libyan capital.

The attempt, beginning at about midnight, became a standoff of several hours with the workers at the site, including around 40 Koreans trying to block their entry.

Two Bangladeshi workers were stabbed and were in critical condition, a ministry official said at a media briefing yesterday.

More than a dozen more Bangladeshi workers were also wounded, the official said.

“Three Koreans wounded in the incident suffered light injuries and received treatment within the construction site,” the official said.

The standoff ended around noon. The Libyans left after holding talks with the workers at the site, the ministry said.

The ministry said the motive of the raid is still being investigated, but it suspected that it was economically driven, an attempt by homeless Libyans to move into the houses being built at the site.

“The ongoing anti-government protests in the country might also have sparked the raid,” said the official.

The incident followed looting at a Korean construction site in Libya’s eastern port city of Benghazi on Sunday. About a dozen Libyans took heavy equipment, cars and computers from the site.

On Friday and Saturday, another Korean construction site in Derna, eastern Libya, also was hit with a raid by about 200 local residents.

Libya, under the autocratic rule of Muammar el-Qaddafi for more than four decades, is reeling from a growing anti-regime uprising, apparently inspired by protests in Tunisia and Egypt.

Last week, the Korean Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for eastern Libya, where anti-regime rallies were most active.

An interministerial meeting attended by related government agencies was held yesterday to discuss measures to protect Koreans in Libya, the ministry said.

Ministry officials said moving the roughly 1,400 Koreans living in Libya out of the country is also an option.

By Moon Gwang-lip []

Related Korean Article[중앙일보]
총칼 든 리비아 주민…현지 건설현장 습격…한국인 3명 부상

벵가지선 중장비 도난당해

반정부 시위가 이어지고 있는 리비아에서 한국 건설업체들이 현지 주민들로부터 잇따라 습격받고 있다. 이 과정에서 한국인 근로자 3명이 부상을 당했다.

외교통상부는 21일 “20일 오후 11시(현지시간)쯤 리비아 수도 트리폴리에서 30㎞ 떨어진 국내 S건설사 주택공사 현장에 500여 명의 현지 주민이 난입했다”며 “이 과정에서 한국인 3명이 타박상 등의 부상을 당했다”고 밝혔다. 현지 주민 가운데 일부는 총과 칼로 무장한 것으로 전해졌다. 방글라데시 근로자 2명이 흉기에 찔려 중상을 입었고, 15명이 가벼운 부상을 당했다. 현장에는 한국인 직원 40여 명과 방글라데시 근로자 1600여 명이 있었다. 외교부 당국자는 “대화를 통해 대치 상황은 일단 끝난 상태”라며 “부상한 한국인은 비교적 경상이라 캠프에서 치료받고 있다”고 전했다.

비슷한 시각, 리비아 동부 벵가지에 위치한 국내 H건설사 공사 현장과 숙소에도 현지인들이 들이닥쳐 컴퓨터와 중장비를 훔쳐갔다. 다행히 직원은 모두 긴급 대피해 인명 피해는 없었다. 이에 앞서 17~18일에도 리비아 주민 300여 명이 데르나 소재 W건설의 공사 현장과 숙소를 습격했었다.

정부는 리비아의 치안 상황이 나빠짐에 따라 재외공관장 회의 참석차 귀국 중이던 조대식 주리비아대사를 즉시 귀임시키고, 외교부 재외동포영사국과 국토해양부 관계자들을 중심으로 신속대응팀을 꾸려 현지로 보낼 예정이다. 또 이집트 사태 때와 마찬가지로 상황이 더 악화할 것에 대비해 특별항공 대책을 마련해 놓았다. 현재 리비아에는 건설업 종사자 1000여 명 등 모두 1400여 명의 한국인이 있다.

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