News / Asia

    South Korean Soldier Who Killed Five is Surrounded

    South Korean army soldiers aim their machine guns as they search for a conscript soldier who is on the run after a shooting incident in Goseong, June 22, 2014.
    South Korean army soldiers aim their machine guns as they search for a conscript soldier who is on the run after a shooting incident in Goseong, June 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    South Korean troops have surrounded a soldier who fled his border outpost after killing five of his comrades Saturday.

    South Korean military authorities say they are trying to persuade the soldier to surrender.  They said one platoon leader was wounded when the runaway soldier, identified only by his surname Yim, fired on the military personnel closing in on him.

    Yim had opened fire with his standard issue K2 assault rifle at an outpost near the North Korean border in Gangwon province, east of Seoul.  In addition to the five dead soldiers he wounded seven others.
     
    Thousands of troops from the rival Koreas are squared off along the world's most heavily armed border.
     
    There is no indication North Korea is involved.

    Tensions between the two countries have been high recently, with North Korea staging a series of missile and artillery drills and threatening South Korea's leader.  The sides have also traded fire along their disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea.
     
    Shootings have occurred in the past on the border.
     
    In 2011, a 19-year-old marine corporal went on a shooting rampage at a Gwanghwa Island base, just south of the maritime border with North Korea. Military investigators later said that corporal was angry about being shunned and slighted and showed signs of mental illness before the shooting.

    In 2005, a soldier tossed a hand grenade and opened fire at a front-line army unit in a rampage that killed eight colleagues and injured several others.  The shooter told investigators he was enraged at superiors who verbally abused him.
     
    All able-bodied South Korean men must serve about two years in the military under a conscription system aimed at countering aggression from North Korea
     
    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.   

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