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Eight Soldiers Killed in Their Sleep

Posted June. 20, 2005 03:01,   


A resentful soldier, disgruntled by “verbal violence” from his senior soldiers, threw a grenade and went on a shooting rampage yesterday at an Army camp near the border, leaving 10 of his colleagues either killed or injured.

This shooting spree clearly demonstrates the lack of discipline in the army. Strong criticism against military authorities as well as the army camp leadership is expected to be aroused, putting pressure on the military leadership for resignation.

After a recent human rights abuse incident in January at a training center, the military authorities announced that they prepared strong measures to tighten discipline and prevent further human rights violations, especially at camps near the border, but this incident proves the measures didn’t work.

According to the military authorities, a private first class identified as Kim (22) threw a grenade and sprayed 40 bullets from a K-1 rifle at around 2:30 a.m. in his barracks at an Army guard post near the frontline in Yeoncheon-gun, some 70 kilometers north of Seoul. This incident killed eight: seven soldiers and platoon leader First Lt. Kim Jong-myung (26), and severely injured two.

Some 10 minutes after the incident, a newly commissioned leader identified Kim among the soldiers assembled on the drill ground while scrutinizing them if they possessed magazines, and delivered him to the military investigation agency.

Right after the incident, the military authorities moved the bodies of the killed to four military hospitals using helicopters and ambulances. The two injured are receiving medical treatment in a military hospital in Yangju, and none of them are in critical condition. President Roh commented, “I extend my condolences to the bereaved families,” and told Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung to take every possible measure to prevent similar events from happening through a thorough investigation on the causes and motivation behind the incident.”

Sang-Ho Yun Jung-Hun Kim ysh1005@donga.com jnghn@donga.com