Statement by WEA on Release of 19 Korean Hostages

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For Immediate Release

Aug. 30, 2007

Contact: Marion Uzac, Press Secretary, [email protected]
Sylvia Soon, Chief-of-Staff, [email protected]

The head of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, welcomed news that all 19 remaining South Korean hostages have been released by the Taliban.

“We at the World Evangelical Alliance rejoice in the fact that our brothers and sisters held hostage for over six weeks have now all been released,” said Dr. Tunnicliffe, the WEA’s International Director. “At the same time we also grieve the loss of the two male Korean captives and will be praying for God to comfort their families.”

“We also want to assure the Korean churches that we will continue to pray for them as they process the emotions and changes following the hostage crisis.”

On July 19, a group of 23 South Korean Christian volunteers were captured by Taliban militants. Family members and the group’s home church in South Korea say that the group was only in Afghanistan to offer free medical services and not for evangelism.

Since the kidnapping – the largest abduction of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 – two male hostages have been killed. The leader of the group, 40-year-old Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, and 29-year-old Shim Sung-min were found dead on July 25 and July 30, respectively.

Two female hostages were freed earlier this month - 37-year-old Kim Kyung-ja and 32-year-old Kim Ji-na – on Aug. 13.

The WEA head added, “We recognize there is much current debate on the future of Korean missionary work in dangerous or complex situation. I’m looking forward to meeting Korean Christian leaders to discuss the significant implications of the South Korean government’s ban on Christian workers going to Afghanistan.”

Dr. Tunnicliffe will visit South Korea Sept 13-17 to meet with Korean Christian leaders. In addition, he hopes to meet with the released hostages.

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.