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South Korea suspends tear gas exports to Bahrain amid pressures by human rights groups

South Korea has ordered companies to suspend tear gas exports to Bahrain under pressure from human rights groups.

The state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Wednesday that it instructed two companies not to ship tear gas to the Gulf state after they inquired about possible exports.

Agency officials said the two companies exported tear gas to Bahrain in 2011 and 2012.

The officials said the decision was made after rights groups urged South Korea not to export more of the crowd control material to Bahrain because misuse of tear gas there had caused the deaths and injuries of protesters.

Bahrain, a Sunni-ruled nation, has faced continuing unrest since the country's Shiite majority began protests against the government in early 2011.