North Korea accused of killing a South Korean official in “an act of brutality”
A South Korean official has been shot dead and burned by North Korean troops, the South’s defence ministry said.
South Korea has condemned as “an act of brutality” the death of an official who it claims was shot by North Korean soldiers near the countries’ maritime border, and called for those responsible to be punished.
Seoul said the man, who worked for the fisheries department, disappeared from a patrol boat near the border and was later found in the North’s waters.
South Korean media reports said the official, who has not been named, went missing from the inspection vessel about 10km south of the de facto maritime boundary between North and South Korea while investigating claims of unauthorised fishing.
Colleagues noticed the man, who reports said ended up in North Korean waters, was absent from lunch and found only his shoes on the vessel, sparking a search involving ships and aircraft, Yonhap news ageny reported.
“North Korea found the man in its waters and committed an act of brutality by shooting at him and burning his body, according to our military’s thorough analysis of diverse intelligence,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Our military strongly condemns such a brutal act and strongly urges the North to provide an explanation and punish those responsible. We also sternly warn North Korea that all responsibilities for this incident lie with it.”
It is not clear why he was shot, but Yonhap news agency quoted sources as saying that North Korean troops may have been acting under anti-coronavirus orders.
The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent Covid-19 from entering the country.
The incident would be the second time North Korean troops have shot and killed a South Korean civilian. In July 2008, a tourist was shot by a soldier at Mount Kumgang.
You might also be interested in: