South Korean trade official abducted in Libyan capital

Gunmen have kidnapped a South Korean trade official in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, according to the South Korean government, which advised its citizens Monday to leave the country.

Han Seok-woo, 39, the head of the Tripoli office of the government-funded Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, was on his way home from work on Sunday afternoon when four gunmen stopped his car and abducted him, officials with the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Both the ministry and the trade agency said they were trying to gather information on the kidnappers and on Mr. Han’s whereabouts.

“So far, no one has come out to say why they have kidnapped him or what they wanted,” a ministry official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the ministry’s media policy.

The ministry, which has launched an emergency task force to deal with the abduction, issued a warning against traveling to Libya and asked the 551 South Korean nationals living there to leave.

Mr. Han’s kidnapping came as Western governments fear a deepening instability in Libya, where the government has had difficulty containing heavily armed militias, tribesmen and Islamists.