- Title: VARIOUS: Taliban sets new South Korean hostages execution deadline
- Date: 29th July 2007
- Summary: (ASIA) SEONGNAM, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 28, 2007) (REUTERS) VARIOUS CLOSEUPS OF FAMILIES AWAITING UPDATES
- Reuters ID: LVAAOKH6GKJHRW5DYV6OJENIBLBG
- Duration: 00:00:16
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,International Relations
- Story Text: South Korean presidential envoy Baek Jong-Chun has held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday (July 29) to try to speed up the release of 22 South Korean hostages held by the Taliban.
Taliban rebels ruled out more talks with the Afghan government over the hostages and pressed for the release of militant prisoners as the only way out of the crisis. Later on Sunday a spokesman issued another deadline for the execution of the hostages for Monday 30 July at 0730gmt.
"With regard to the Koreans I want to say that since the talks between us, the Kabul administration and Korean government have reached deadlock and they are not honest ... we will start killing the hostages if they do not start releasing our prisoners by tomorrow at 1200 o'clock,(0730gmt)," Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The kidnappers killed the leader of the group on Wednesday, but several Taliban deadlines have passed without the rebels carrying out their threat to kill the rest of the hostages.
In Ghazni, south of Kabul where the hostages are believed to be held, police stepped up security searching cars and buses, and carrying out body searches of individuals entering the city .
They hope that tightened security will lay the groundwork for the government to resolve the hostages crisis.
"We are continuing our search, we are hopeful that tightened security will help the government and pave the way for security forces to find the location of the foreign hostages," said Zamari Khan a police officer in Ghazni.
Eighteen of the remaining hostages are female and are being held in small groups at different locations.
In South Korea nervous families of the 22 captives tearfully awaited news of their loved ones.
The family of 40-year-old Yoo Jung-hwa, who was interviewed by telephone by Reuters on Saturday, appealed for a speedy end to their ordeal.
Yoo Jung-hwa's sister Jung-hee told local media that she and her family heard the recorded interview while watching the news at home and recognised the voice as her sister's.
"I really wish that the negotiations go well and that she would return to our family soon. There is nothing else. I know that the government is trying hard but I just miss my sister," Yoo Jung-hee said as tears rolled down her face.
Yoo Jung-hwa on the recording said she was scared and that sometimes her captors sometimes threatened to kill them.
On Sunday Pope Benedict added his voice to global appeals for the release of the hostages. He condemned the exploitation of innocent people as a "grave violation of human dignity".
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