Anchor: Military authorities have revealed that North Korean troops fired at a fellow soldier as he was escaping to South Korea across the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday. He was shot five times as he got out of his jeep and ran toward the South. He is now in an intensive care unit at a South Korean hospital.
Kim Bum-soo has more.
Report: A North Korean soldier was shot five times by his former comrades as they fired some 40 rounds at him while he was escaping to the South through truce village of Panmunjeom.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) on Tuesday released its initial assessment of the defection to the National Assembly defense committee.
The UN Command Security Battalion at the truce village also provided a similar account in a press release, saying the North Korean dashed toward the South in a military jeep at around a quarter after three p.m. on Monday.
The rank-and-file soldier was seen sprinting toward the South after he escaped his vehicle, which got stuck in a drain. He managed to move some 50 meters across the military demarcation line(MDL) while some 40 rounds were fired at him. Severely wounded in his chest and stomach, he was saved by South Korean soldiers who crawled to move him to a safer location.
The North Korean defector is currently at an intensive care unit at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. After a five-hour emergency surgery, trauma specialist Dr. Lee Guk-jong told reporters that the defector is in a critical condition.
[Sound bite: Dr. Lee Guk-jong (Korean)]
“Seeing how the soldier’s condition develops, we might have to schedule a surgery earliest Wednesday, and if necessary, continue on Thursday, Friday and so on. There are more than seven multiple ruptures in the internal organs and several of them are penetrating wounds.”
Soldiers at the Joint Security Area were said to have monitored the North Korean soldier’s escape to the South in real-time. A military source said further light will be shed on details through a probe being conducted by the UN Command Military Armistice Commission.
The truce village is where South and North Korean soldiers face off just a few meters away from each other. A North Korean soldier last defected through the truce village in 2007.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.