By Kim Sue-young
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday condemned the killing of a Korean citizen and German and British civilians who had been kidnapped in Yemen.
''The government cannot repress its astonishment at the abduction and killing of innocent people,'' the ministry said in a statement. It offered condolences to the bereaved family here.
The Korean Embassy in Yemen activated a task force and asked the Yemeni government to cooperate in getting to the bottom of the case, it said.
The bodies of 34-year-old South Korea aid worker Eom Young-seon and two others were found in the Saada region, about 200 kilometers north from San'a, the Yemeni capital.
To find out why the hostages were murdered, the government will closely cooperate with Germany and Britain, as well as Yemen.
South Korea also vowed to support the international community's initiative to fight terrorism, especially that targeting innocent foreigners.
According to reports, nine people were abducted while picnicking last Friday. However, a Seoul official said only three mutilated bodies had been found by shepherds in the region.
''The three were taken to a hospital in Saada and Yemeni authorities plan to move them to the capital today,'' the official said on condition of anonymity.
''Ministry officials will accompany bereaved family members during their visit to Yemen to bring back the body,'' he added.
Eom entered the country last October as a volunteer teacher under the Netherlands-based Worldwide Service.
No militants or armed groups have claimed responsibility for the killing yet.
This is not the first time that a South Korean became the target of terrorism in that region.
Last March, four South Korean tourists were killed by a terrorist bomb attack in the historical city of Shibam, about 90 kilometers east of San'a.
Bereaved families of the victims and Seoul officials flew to the country on the Arabian Peninsula to collect the remains but also were attacked by a suicide bomber. No casualties were reported that time.
The official said the two attacks targeted unspecified foreigners, not just Koreans, based on the investigations by the Yemeni government.
''It appears that al-Qaida made the two attacks in order to display that they were still thriving,'' he said.