As He Ran Across the DMZ, His Fellow Soldiers Shot Him

Incident happened Monday in the Joint Security Area in the DMZ
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2017 6:03 AM CST
North Korean Guards Shoot Fellow Soldier as He Defects
In this Feb. 22, 2016, file photo, a North Korean army officer looks out at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates the two Koreas.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

If it sounds like an unusual event, that's because it is: A North Korea solider was shot and wounded in the demilitarized zone Monday afternoon while trying to defect to the South. The bullets came via "his former comrades," as CNN puts it, and struck him in the shoulder and elbow, reports Yonhap. Per the South Korean military, he was recovered unarmed and bleeding some 25 minutes after gunshots were heard. A UN Command helicopter removed him from the area and transported him into South Korea for treatment. He's just the seventh soldier to defect since 2012, though the third this year.

The unidentified soldier reportedly defected from a guard post in the Joint Security Area, a small zone described by the BBC as the only part of the DMZ where the two forces stand face-to-face. "Currently, there are no unusual signs in the North Korean military," as a result of the incident, said to have happened around 3:30pm local time, "but we are increasing alertness against the possibility of North Korean provocations," officials said. The BBC notes that while an estimated 1,000 North Koreans defect annually, they by and large don't do so via the DMZ. Yonhap adds that military defections in this area are rare as the soldiers stationed there are chosen for their demonstrated loyalty. (Afraid of North Korea's nukes? It may have something worse.)

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