Saemmul Church Incident, which is Receiving Attention Again

기사승인 2023.02.03  20:13:32


- Recently, people's attention has been focused on the Saemmul Church incident, the motif of the movie "Negotiation,"

Recently, the movie "Negotiation" was released in Korea. Many famous actors are making headlines, and people are paying keen attention to the Saemmul Church incident, the film motif. 

The official name of the Saemmul church incident is the 2007 South Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan, which was on July 20, 2007, when 23 missionaries went to Afghanistan for missionary work and were kidnapped by the Taliban. They entered Afghanistan by transferring to several countries, even though the government designated Afghanistan as a travel-banned country. In addition, they were kidnapped while traveling in a large bus during the day in defiance of U.S. military warnings in Afghanistan. 



The government immediately sent a delegation to Afghanistan to negotiate after their abduction was identified, but two people were killed in the process. On August 29 of that year, negotiations were finally concluded, and all remaining Koreans were released. The negotiations included the withdrawal of South Korean troops within this year and the suspension of the dispatch of Protestant missionaries to Afghanistan. Since the incident, the South Korean government has emerged as a public interest in how much the hostages have been paid, but it has not been officially revealed. However, Alan Fisher, a correspondent for Al Jazeera Broadcasting, quoted a senior Afghan official as saying, "We can't reveal the exact amount, but there are rumors that South Korea paid about 20 million pounds to the Taliban." The Asahi Shimbun quoted an Afghan official who mediated the negotiations on August 31 as saying, "The Korean government paid 2 million dollars in return for the release of all 19 hostages."

At that time, the Internet portal "Yahoo" conducted a survey on "how much the expenses incurred in the process of the incident and who should pay for it." As of 5 p.m. on August 31 of that year, 75% (24,143) of all respondents said, "The Saemmul Church should pay for it." This shows how much public antipathy was against the Saemmul Church incident at that time.

Meanwhile, the bereaved family of the victim killed by the Taliban in 2010 filed a lawsuit for violating the government's obligation to protect overseas Koreans, but the lawsuit ended when the court ruled that the state did not need to compensate.


“10년 전 오늘, 전 국민을 경악케 한 샘물교회 피랍 사건.” 중앙일보, 2017, Accessed 18 Jan. 2023.
[탈레반 인질 전원석방] 피랍에서 석방합의까지.



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