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North Korea replaces border guards after defection incident

2024-07-23 05:13:06      点击:776
By Kim Rahn

North Korea has replaced all border guards following the defection of a soldier to South Korea via the Joint Security Area (JSA), according to sources Friday.

An intelligence source said the North changed all guards there, after they failed to prevent the soldier's defection, Nov. 13. Commanders of the unit and other senior officials may also have been punished, the source said.

It is said there were between 35 to 40 North Korean guards in the JSA.

The North also seems to have closed the so-called 72-Hour Bridge across which the soldier drove a military jeep toward the JSA, according to the source. It shut down the bridge temporarily and is moving to set up a checkpoint ― presumably in an attempt to check the identities of soldiers and allow passage to only those whose identities are confirmed.

On Nov. 13, the North Korean soldier drove the jeep across the bridge, but the vehicle became stuck near JSA buildings, so he got out and ran south across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL). Four North Korean guards engaged him with direct fire with around 40 gunshots, and the soldier was hit five times before collapsing.

Three members of South Korea's JSA security battalion crawled along the ground to recover the wounded soldier, who was flown to a hospital and underwent two operations.

It was found that during the incident, some of the gunshots flew over the MDL and one guard briefly crossed the line before returning back to the North's side ― a clear violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement.

Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the United Nations Command (UNC), awarded the Army Commendation Medals to six South Korean and U.S. soldiers who took part in the operation to recover the North Korean soldier, including the three who crawled toward him, in recognition of their efforts, according to the U.S. Forces Korea Facebook.


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