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North Korean soldier critically wounded while crossing DMZ in hail of bullets

North Korean soldier critically wounded while crossing DMZ in hail of bullets
From CBC - November 14, 2017

A North Korean soldier is expectedto survive critical wounds after his old comradesfired a hail of bullets at him as he made a defection dash toSouth Korea, the South's government and military said onTuesday.

On Monday, the soldier sped towardthe border in a"peace village" in the heavily guarded demilitarised zone, in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

But when a wheel came loose, he fled on foot as four NorthKorean soldiers fired about 40 rounds at him, said Suh Wook,chief director of operations at South Korea's Joint Chiefs ofStaff, briefing lawmakers.

"Until this morning, we heard he had no consciousness andwas unable to breathe on his own but his life can be saved," Suhsaid.

Surgeons had removed five bullets from the soldier's body,leaving two inside, Suh added, to murmurs from lawmakers whosaid the soldier's escape was "right out of a movie."

The soldier took cover behind a South Korean structure in aJoint Security Area (JSA) inside the demilitarised zone betweenthe two Koreas.

South Korean and U.S. soldiers, fearing more North Koreanfire, later crawled to him to rescue him, the United Nations
Command said in a separate statement.

North Korea has not said anything about the soldier. Itsmilitary had not given any indication of unusual movements onTuesday, the South's military said.

1,000 defections per year

While on average more than 1,000 North Koreans defect to theSouth every year, most travel via China and it is unusual for aNorth Korean to cross the land border dividing the two Koreas,which have been in a technical state of war since their 1950-53conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The UNCommand, in place since the end of the war, said aninvestigation into the incident was being conducted.

South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo said it was thefirst time North Korean soldiers had fired towards the South'sside of the JSA, prompting complaints from some lawmakers thatthe South's military should have returned fire.

Severe intestinal injuries

Unusual site for defection

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