Report: Remains Found on Seabed Belong to Sewol Victim

  • UN says 100 people have been killed in CAR as militia violence spreads

South Korean authorities have identified a bone found at the Sewol sinking site in early May as belonging to one of the nine still missing persons, according to the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The bone was identified to be from Danwon High School teacher Go Chang-suk, Korea Herald informed. The 35-centimeter shinbone, which was located during an underwater search of the wreckage site near Jindo, was the first major discovery since the start of the investigation in April.

Over the weekend, the search party found 16 bone pieces on the fourth deck. The remains were reportedly identified as belonging to a student of Danwon High School, Cho Eun-hwa.

Earlier this week the teams conducting a search operation aboard the salvaged wreck found 13 human bone fragments, Korea Herald cited data released by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. Nine fragments were located inside a passenger cabin on the ferry’s third deck, while the remaining fragments were found in mud collected from the third and fourth decks.

Korea Herald added that the fragments would be sent for DNA analysis.

The 6,800-ton Sewol ferry sank on April 16, 2014, off Jindo Island resulting in the deaths of 304 people. 250 of the ferry’s passengers were high school students on a school trip.

Almost three years after the ill-fated event, the South Korean government managed to lift the wreck from the seabed. The resting place of the ship was some 44 meters below the surface.

In the meantime, the UN says as many as 100 people have been killed in militia violence in southern Central African Republic and fighting fuelled by ethnic and religious rivalries is spreading.

The weekend violence represents a new escalation in a conflict that began in 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters seized power and ousted then-President Francois Bozize, prompting reprisal killings from Christian anti-balaka militias.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said that clashes intensified on Monday in the town of Bria, about 300 km (180 miles) from the southerneastern border town of Bangassou during the day, forcing about 1,000 civilians to seek shelter near the UN base.

Dujarric in a statement said that Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres’ (MSF) hospital in Bria had received 24 wounded people early on Tuesday as fighting continued, Frederic Lai Manantsoa, MSF’s head of mission in the capital Bangui.

Casualty counts have been difficult to confirm because of the ongoing violence and remoteness of the locations.

“I don’t know exactly how many but some were wounded and others died,” one Bria resident said.

Meanwhile, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), said the situation in the border town of Bangassou was “under control” after an attack by Christian militiamen at the weekend killed nearly 30 people and forced thousands to flee.

Dujarric said unverifiable figures indicate that up to 100 people may have been killed in three days of clashes from May 7 to May 9 in the town of Alindao between anti-balaka fighters and an ex-Seleka group.

He added that up to 8,500 people were displaced in the fighting.

The spokesman said that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs plans to lead an inter-agency fact-finding mission there.

MINUSCA also said that in the town of Bangassou, at the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, the mission’s troops captured strategic sites after air strikes on Monday.

A total of 26 bodies have so far been identified there after fighting at the weekend.

“The worst is over,” MINUSCA’s top general, Bala Keïta, told reporters in the capital Bangui.

“We are holding the terrain and our men are going to continue search-and-sweep operations.”

According to the UN refugee agency, the violence in Bangassou sent an estimated 2,750 refugees fleeing across the border into Congo over the weekend.

In Bangui, hundreds marched to demand that the perpetrators of violent attacks face justice after years of impunity.

Evodie Ndemade, vice president of a victims’ association said: “We notice, unfortunately, that the violence continues to claim victims.

“Justice must be done now.”

Additional report from World Maritime News