Foreigners hurt as Libyans storm S. Korea worksite

SEOUL — Some 500 Libyans stormed and looted a South Korean construction site west of Tripoli Monday, injuring South Korean and Bangladeshi workers, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

It said about 15 Bangladeshis were hurt along with three South Koreans when the mob invaded the site about 30 kilometres (19 miles) west of Tripoli. Two of the Bangladeshis were seriously injured with stab wounds.

The confrontation ended around noon Seoul time (0300 GMT) and the Libyans left the site, a ministry official told a briefing. There are about 1,600 Bangladeshi workers at the site.

“Computers and some heavy machinery were stolen but we do not know how much the damage will cost at the moment,” said the official, Baik Joo-Hyeon.

“We don’t know if this is directly related to the civil unrest in the country,” he said of Monday’s attack, the latest of several on South Korean construction sites in Libya.

About 200 people in the eastern coastal town of Darnah invaded a South Korean-run construction site last Thursday and set fire to a dormitory for Korean workers near the site on Friday.

The ministry said the offices of some South Korean companies had been looted since Saturday.

South Korean companies have worked on hundreds of construction projects in Libya since 1978. The ministry said there are currently about 1,400 South Koreans in the country.

On January 14-15, hundreds of Libyans raided four South Korean-run construction sites, destroying heavy equipment and setting vehicles and other facilities on fire.

The foreign ministry said at the time the Libyan government had offered compensation. That riot was reportedly prompted by a senior Tripoli official’s remarks that homes being built by foreign firms belong to the Libyan people and that they have the right to live in those homes.

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