North Korea said on Friday that it has detained an American citizen for unspecified reasons, raising the number of U.S. citizens believed to be held in the country to three.
The country's state-run news agency reported that the man, identified as Jeffrey Edward Fowle, "entered the DPRK as a tourist on April 29 and acted in violation of the DPRK law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay." A Japanese news outlet, Kyodo, said he was part of a tour group and was held after leaving a bible in his hotel room.
Back in April, North Korea said that U.S. citizen "Miller Matthew Todd," (whose first name might be Todd) tore up his visa upon arrival in the country, saying he was looking for asylum in the DPRK. Kenneth Bae has been held by the state since last year, and has been sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor, even after his apparently forced confession.
The U.S. State Department commented that it is "aware of reports that a third U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea," but didn't offer further details.
Tensions with North Korea have been high in recent months, thanks to the country's pledge to test out a new form of nuclear weapon that some fear could pose a threat to nearby countries.