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South Koreans abducted by Pyongyang growing: Expert group

Seoul: The United Nation's working group on enforced disappearances said that its search list for South Koreans believed to have been abducted by North Korea has been growing, the media reported.

At a press conference in Seoul, the international panel on Friday said the reclusive country remains steadfastly unresponsive to requests for information to determine the fate of such people, Yonhap News Agency reported.

As of last year, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances reviewed 53 cases of South Koreans suspected of being taken by North Korea during and after the Korean War (1950-53).

The expert group had formally asked the North Korean government to provide information on 41 of the total cases, but the communist country did not come up with an answer sufficient to verify the fates of those missing, according to the group`s report submitted to the UN`s Human Rights Council last July.

Since the report, there has been an increase in the number of such missing South Korean cases whose fates were unknown, the five-member panel`s chairwoman Houria Es-Slami told the media here.

Es-Slami said she could not disclose exactly how many until the group`s annual report to be submitted later this year, but called the increase "alarmingly high".

The Seoul government has said about 3,000 South Korean soldiers and civilians were confirmed to have been kidnapped by the North during and after the war.

North Korea, however, categorically rejects such accusations, saying they are just slander aimed at toppling the country`s regime.

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