South Korean soldiers stand guard at a temporary checkpoint
during a search for the soldier who is on the run after the
shooting incident. REUTERS/Lee Jong-gun/Yonhap
A South Korean conscript soldier has shot and killed five
of his fellow unit members and injured five others at a guard
post near the heavily armed border with North Korea, a South
Korean government official said.
The exact circumstances of the incident at the remote guard
post were not immediately clear, although there was no
indication that North Korea was involved in the incident.
The incident took place in the Goseong county, a mountainous
region that borders the North on the eastern end of the
A separate official with the army said there was an operation
to capture the conscript who is believed to be on the run
carrying a firearm, live ammunitions and a grenade.
All able-bodied South Korean men must serve about two years
under a conscription system that makes up a military of more
than 600,000 troops aimed at deterring aggression by North
Korea, which is one of the world's most militarised states.
Incidents involving firearms at South Korean military units
are not frequent but have occurred in the past, typically
when conscripts who had been under stress opened fire on
other unit members or deserted the base carrying weapons.
The tensely guarded border across the Korean peninsula was
drawn up at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The two Koreas
remain technically at war because an armistice and not a
peace treaty was signed to end the conflict.
North Korea stations a large portion of its 1.2-million
strong military near the border backed by artillery power. It
regularly threatens the South and the U.S. military based in
the South with destruction.
Earlier on Saturday, the North's official KCNA news agency
accused the South's president and its defence chief as
"criminals" who fueled military tension in commentary typical
of rhetoric from Pyongyang that warned of war.