ECC Supports Call for Release of South Korean Hostages

Post a Comment » Written on August 1st, 2007     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (August 1, 2007) – A statement in support of the effort to win the safe release of 21 South Korean hostages was issued today by Glenn R. Palmberg, president of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Twenty-three members of a Protestant church group, including 18 women, were abducted July 19 by Taliban insurgents in Ghazni province of Afghanistan while on their way to provide free medical services to poor Afghan citizens. They were on a 10-day relief mission – most are in their 20s and 30s, and some are nurses and teachers. When Taliban demands for release of political prisoners were not met, the captors murdered two of the male hostages.

“The Evangelical Covenant Church joins with Christian brothers and sisters in South Korea, in the United States, and throughout the world in praying for the release of the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan,” Palmberg said. “We mourn with the families who have lost loved ones and pray God’s comfort upon them.

“We call upon the governments of Afghanistan, South Korea, and the United States to do everything possible to win the safe release of these sisters and brothers and return them to their homes and families in safety,” the statement continues. “We encourage Covenant churches to join in concerted prayer for the captives and ask Covenanters to speak with their representatives in Congress to encourage action for the quick release of the hostages.”

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, told the Associated Press, after the latest Taliban deadline had passed, that the remaining 21 hostages were still alive, though two female hostages were very sick and could die from illness.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called the current hostage situation in his country shameful and the kidnapping of women particularly un-Islamic in his first comments since the South Koreans were abducted.

According to reports, Karzai criticized the Taliban’s kidnapping of “foreign guests,” especially women, as contrary to the tenets of Islam. “This will have a shameful effect on the dignity of the Afghan people,” Karzai said in a statement from the presidential palace released after talks with a South Korean delegation.

South Korea said it would send a parliamentary delegation to the United States to seek cooperation in resolving the crisis, and relatives of the hostages pleaded for help at Washington’s embassy in the South Korean capital.

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