Ex-South Korean hostages recount six-week ordeal in Afghanistan

September 12, 2007 07:33

The 21 South Koreans who were held by the Taliban in Afghanistan said Wednesday that the insurgents beat and threatened them with bayonets to force them to convert to Islam during their six-week ordeal. "We were beaten by them many times, being forced to convert to Islam," Je Chang-hee told a news conference with 20 other fellow ex-hostages at a hospital south of Seoul, where the Christian volunteers have been receiving medical treatment since they returned home 10 days ago. "They kicked us and beat us with guns and tree branches. Sometimes, they aimed their bayonet-topped rifles at our necks," Je said, adding that he had been held in a mountain cave with three other hostages. "Overall, our lives were not easy." The group of 23 South Koreans were seized July 19 from a bus heading to the southern city of Kandahar. Two of the male hostages were killed during the standoff, but all were eventually released late last month after direct negotiations between the South Korean government and the Taliban.

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