North Korea Soldier Kills Officers, Defects

He says he shot two superiors near border
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2012 9:31 AM CDT
South Korean soldiers stand guard Saturday at a traffic-control gate near Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.   (AP Photo/Bae Jung-hyun, Yonhap)

(Newser) – A rarity in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea today: A soldier from the North defected and claims to have killed two commanding officers in order to do so, reports the Voice of America. Soldiers in the South heard about six shots, then allowed the soldier to cross the DMZ. He is still being interrogated.

“We'll see as he's debriefed and it's just a one-off incident, so I don't think there's too much we can read into it besides that at this point,” says an analyst with the International Crisis Group. Pyongyang, not surprisingly, has not confirmed the incident, reports the BBC. The North generally puts only its best soldiers at the border after a careful vetting process, and defections are rare. One reason: The family of a defecting soldier is sure to face harsh punishment, notes VOA. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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