12 Ethiopians seek political asylum in S. Korea

September 14th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

SEOUL, South Korea A dozen Ethiopians sought political asylum in Seoul on Thursday while on a trip to mark the opening of a museum commemorating the African country’s participation in the Korean War, the Justice Ministry said.

The asylum seekers, six of them teenagers, filed for asylum with the Korea Immigration Bureau on Thursday morning, said Kong Jon-haeng, a ministry official dealing with refugee affairs. He said the ministry would follow regular procedures that include interviewing the refugees.

The group were among a total of 33 Ethiopians “” including a nine-member folk troupe, 12 veterans and 12 children “” who arrived Saturday in South Korea on an invitation from the Korean Veterans’ Association to mark the opening of the museum in Chuncheon, about 85 kilometers (53 miles) east of Seoul.

The veterans’ group said the asylum seekers, six of whom were members of the folk troupe, left their hotel in central Seoul on Wednesday night.

Ethiopia sent one infantry battalion to help South Korea repel invading communists from North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War and 122 of them were killed in action.

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