Update: A hostage makes a phone call plea to AFP…”It’s difficult, they’re very dangerous,” she said, speaking at times in English and at times in Dari,” she told the news agency. “She gave her name as what sounded like Sing Jo-Hin but there was no way of verifying she was one of the hostages. ‘Most of us are sick now,’ she wept. ‘Our condition is worsening every passing day. We can’t eat anything and we can’t sleep too. And we miss Korea and our homes.'”
Still ignored. Still suffering. Still praying. Not that the world seems to care much, but there was a funeral in Seoul today for murdered South Korean Christian missionary, Shim Sung-min, the second Korean hostage killed by the Taliban militants last month. Hundreds attended the service. Twenty-one South Korean Christians remain in captivity and under threat of murder. Yonhap reports that Shim’s fellow parishioners went to an Islamic mosque to beg Muslims for help in freeing the remaining hostages:
During the hour-long service, Sung-min’s father, Shim Jin-pyo, said in tears, “My son, Sung-min! I hope your dream comes true in a bigger way there. Please pray in heaven for the safety of the remaining 21 captives together with pastor Bae.”
Shim’s family wailed as his coffin was moved to a mortuary car for transportation to Seoul National Hospital in central Seoul. The family donated the body to the hospital for medical research.
The first hostage victim was Bae Hyung-kyu, a 42-year-old pastor and the leader of the kidnapped Koreans. He was found dead from gunshot wounds in Afghanistan on July 25. But his family said they will not hold a funeral before the remaining hostages return safely home.
Before attending the funeral, 16 family members of the captives visited an Islamic mosque in Seoul to plead for the help of Muslims in winning the release of hostages.
Good luck with that.
Meanwhile, there’s a US-Afghanistan summit this weekend. Karzai will be meeting with President Bush at Camp David. The Taliban kidnappers are watching:
Taliban kidnappers holding South Korean hostages may be deliberately delaying direct talks with South Korea until after key meetings in the U.S. and with Pakistan, legislators from Seoul said Friday, quoting the Afghan envoy here.
Amb. Said Jawad said the kidnappers may wait and see the results of the U.S.-Afghanistan summit this weekend and the upcoming Islamic Council meeting before sitting down with South Korean officials, according to the legislators. More than 700 tribal leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan will attend the council meeting.
Overseas, some people are showing more interest in the plight of the South Korean Christians. Thai civil organizations paid condolences at the South Korean embassy in Bankok and condemned the Taliban.
And the Korean website donga.com castigated leftist groups in South Korean for their anti-American opportunism:
Extreme leftists are now systematically spreading their view that the U.S. is responsible for the Korean hostage situation in Afghanistan. As the situation is dragging on without breakthrough, this view is being raised even among the families of the captives. However, this is the very time that we need to make a reasonable judgment on the situation.
Viewing the U.S. as responsible for the incident means demanding the U.S. to step in and play a role in releasing imprisoned Taliban terrorists. This is no different than saying, it doesn’t matter if it fuels another kidnapping of someone else’s daughter or son by terrorists, as long as my child can be released. If the Taliban’s demands are met, no matter what they ask for, all terrorists around the world will plot yet another kidnap with the aim of having their imprisoned members released. There are already 15,000 overseas evangelical activists. So putting the responsibility on the U.S. is equal to driving those activists into new danger. It is not helpful at all…
Eugene Cho continues to pray for the hostages on Day 16 of the crisis. He reprints a letter from the family of hostage Kim Yung-Yeong, one of the 18 women being held hostage and facing murder by the Taliban.