[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Killer soldier in South Korea standoff

Troops exchange fire with soldier who killed five of his comrades in a grenade and gun attack.

Last updated: 23 Jun 2014 19:27
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A South Korean conscript soldier who killed five of his comrades in a grenade and gun attack is continuing a standoff with troops trying to capture him in a region bordering North Korea.

Speaking from Seoul, Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett said the standoff had been continuing for nearly 19 hours "after the soldier engaged a checkpoint on Sunday afternoon".

A platoon leader was wounded in the gunfight. The soldier was now cornered in a densely forested area near a small town in the Goseong county.

A lockdown was in effect around the search zone, including guard posts along the Demilitarised Zone border, a four kms (2.5 miles) wide swathe of land serving as a buffer between the two Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.

The soldier had thrown a grenade and opened fire late on Saturday night, killing five members of his unit and wounding seven at an outpost in the base at Goseong county, a mountainous region on the eastern coast of the peninsula.

The soldier was described by an official as an "introvert" and said there had been earlier concerns over his psychological health, but he was deemed fit to be deployed to the outpost after passing a test in November.

South Korea has launched a massive manhunt and given troops orders to "shoot to kill" if the soldier failed to surrender.

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the conflict ended in a truce not a peace treaty, and the border is regarded as potentially one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints.

256

Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.