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Australian Government Fears Student In North Korean Custody

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Kyle Hooten Contributor

An Australian student living in North Korea has gone missing, having likely been taken into government custody, according to the BBC.

Australia’s government said Thursday that it is “urgently seeking clarification” regarding Alek Sigley, 29, after his friends and family reported a loss of contact with him, according to the BBC.

A supplied image of Australian student Alek Sigley. Stringer.

Australian student Alek Sigley … (REUTERS/Stringer)

“The situation is that he has not been in digital contact with friends and family since Tuesday morning which is unusual for him,” Sigley’s family said, The Washington Post reported.

North Korean state media is has remained silent on the situation, according to Time. (RELATED: At Least 323 Public Execution Sites Located Around North Korea: Report)

Despite the fact that there has been no confirmation regarding the lost student’s freedom or captivity specifically, “The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the consular services charter, to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea,” according to The Post.

Sigley began studying in North Korea to earn his master’s degree in Korean literature from Kim Il-sung University. While rare, it is not unheard of for non-North-Korean students to study in the “Hermit Kingdom,” according to BBC.

Last year, Sigley stated that he “never felt threatened” as a Westerner in North Korea, according to Sky News.

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