5 Die as Soldier Opens Fire over Food

Kang Mi Jin  |  2013-04-03 20:27
A number of soldiers with the Border Guards in North Hamkyung Province were recently killed in a shooting incident near the border, Daily NK has learned.

A provincial source explained on the 2nd, "On the 25th of last month a soldier shot and killed five company commanders with the Musan County Border Guards. The soldier fled but was arrested on the border and sent back."

According to the source, the soldier had received a particularly meagre quantity of food for dinner that day, so, having done his guard duty, returned to the mess in secret and stole more. However, he was caught and received a beating from the cadre in charge of food supplies and other senior personnel. The soldier reportedly snapped at this point, responding with his weapon.

"The commanders there are now in a state of high tension, fearing they may face censure for the shootings. The atmosphere on-base is difficult," the source said, explaining, In past cases like this, the soldier was shot there and then and his or her family were sent to a re-education facility, while the unit was dismantled and its commanders were demoted or given a period of revolutionzation [put on probation]."

There is a National Security Agency man inside each unit now managing the soldiers, so these kinds of incidents do not happen frequently," the source added. However, "This one seems to be down to the poor food situation."

After Kim Jong Eun took power in late 2011, the border was transferred to National Security Agency control. This was done to crack down on smuggling and defection, which is almost always done in collusion with uniformed men.

Over the last year, Daily NK has heard about a number of events of this nature that imply serious command and control stresses enveloping the North Korean military. Many of the issues appear to stem from declining morale due to food and work concerns.
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