Missing South Korean Teen Joins Islamic State Training Camp

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A South Korean teenager who went missing in Turkey last month has been receiving training from the Islamic State (IS) militant group, according to South Korea’s national spy agency.

The 18-year-old middle school dropout, identified only by his surname Kim, disappeared on Jan. 10 and was last seen leaving his hotel in the southern Turkish border town of Kilis. According to Kim’s travel guide, Mr. Hong, the teen left the hotel without any explanation. There had been speculation that Kim crossed the border into Syria to voluntarily join the extremist group.

Lee Byung-kee, chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), confirmed on Tuesday that Kim has been residing in an undisclosed IS training camp during a meeting with the parliamentary intelligence committee, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said it has “no intelligence on [Kim’s] whereabouts” and is currently working closely with the Turkish government on locating the teen.

Last month, the South Korean police found photos of IS members on Kim’s computer at home and a series of tweets sent under his Twitter username “sunni mujahideen” that expressed interest in joining the militant group. Police said Kim’s Twitter account shows that he often communicated with another user named “H. abode afriki,” who gave Kim instructions on how to rendezvous with IS members.

Kim had reportedly pleaded his parents to allow him to travel to Turkey to meet a friend there whom he had met online.

Kim is the first South Korean to be recruited by the Islamic State.


Featured image via Yonhap