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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
S Korean hostage pleads for help
Relatives waiting anxiously in Seoul
Relatives of the hostages have been waiting anxiously for news
A South Korean woman held hostage with 21 others in Afghanistan has pleaded for help to secure their release.

The woman, who identified herself as Yo Syun Ju, told an Afghan reporter by telephone all the hostages were sick.

"Tell them to do something to get us released," she said in an interview carried out in the presence of the Taleban militants holding her captive.

A group of 23 Koreans was abducted a week ago. The kidnappers have since killed one of the hostages.

In an interview obtained by the BBC from an Afghan journalist, Ms Yo, who said she was from Seoul, described her situation as "dangerous", adding: "Day by day it is getting very difficult...

SAEMMUL COMMUNITY CHURCH
Based in Bundang, on southern outskirts of Seoul
One of a number of big Presbyterian churches in South Korea, with about 1,500 members
Funds social programmes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East
Sends volunteers from the church to work on projects for short stints

"We are all sick and we have a lot of problems."

The hostages are aid workers for a Christian group.

The Koreans, who are mostly women, were abducted one week ago in Ghazni province, south-west of the capital Kabul.

The Taleban have threatened to kill the hostages if the Afghan government refused to meet their demands.

On Wednesday, the body of one of the hostages - later identified as 42-year-old pastor Bae Hyung-kyu - was found with multiple bullet wounds in Ghazni.

Afghanistan map
The office of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun condemned the killing as an "inhumane act".

The Seoul government has sent an envoy to Afghanistan to negotiate the remaining hostages' release.

Following an increase in insurgent attacks, Afghan police have banned foreigners from travelling outside Kabul without their permission, the Associated Press news agency reports.

There has been an increase in kidnappings, as well as more frequent clashes between Taleban and foreign troops, roadside bombings and suicide attacks in recent months.

After the mass kidnapping, South Korea banned its citizens from travelling to Afghanistan.


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S Korean official appeals for the hostages' release






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