North Korean defector on life support after being shot five times

In line with an in depth account of the soldier’s therapy, launched by medical doctors Wednesday, the person was shot five times — in his buttocks, each arms, again, and knee — as he bumped into South Korea underneath a hail of bullets from his former comrades.

The UN Command in South Korea mentioned the soldier drove a car close to the navy demarcation line, the de facto border between the international locations, after which “exited the car and continued fleeing south throughout the road as he was fired upon by different troopers from North Korea.”

Greater than 40 bullets had been fired on the soldier, from pistols and an AK-47, South Korea’s navy mentioned. South Korean troops didn’t return fireplace.

After receiving rapid first support on the DMZ, the soldier was flown in a helicopter to Ajou College Hospital in Suwon, a city close to the South Korean capital Seoul.

He was rushed into surgical procedure “for an emergency operation” 30 minutes after arriving, the hospital mentioned in an announcement.

Following the operation, the soldier was admitted to intensive look after about 33 hours, earlier than returning to surgical procedure early Wednesday morning.

“The affected person is being administered sedatives within the intensive care unit and mechanical air flow is maintained utilizing a life support system,” medical doctors mentioned.

Extra surgical procedure will seemingly be required on his limbs and buttocks, they added, and he could endure everlasting nerve damage or paralysis on account of his accidents.

As his small gut was ruptured by one of many bullets, the chance of an infection was excessive, the assertion mentioned, with feces and intestinal parasites discovered within the man’s belly cavity and digestive system.

“Contamination by … feces and parasites was very extreme, and the prognosis is prone to be worse than that of basic trauma sufferers due to the lengthy time frame spent within the state of shock resulting from large bleeding,” medical doctors mentioned.

“We can’t rule out the potential of an unknown an infection resulting from poor affected person standing and poor vitamin.”

View from North Korea side of the Demilitarized Zone earlier this year, at Panmungak, looking towards Freedom House.

DMZ defections

Monday’s defection is the third by a member of the North Korean navy this yr, following two troopers who fled to South Korea individually in June.

Previous to 2017, there had solely been 4 navy defectors from North Korea over the previous five years: one in 2016, one in 2015 and two in 2012.

Robert Kelly, affiliate professor on the Division of Political Science at Pusan Nationwide College, mentioned the outstanding defection and the taking pictures was “genuinely shocking.”

“It is pretty uncommon, I am unable to consider the final time (a defector was shot at) … it actually provides to the tensions,” he mentioned.

The defector is presently in South Korean navy custody, based on an announcement.

“Our navy has raised the alert stage in anticipation of North Korean provocation. The navy is sustaining a full readiness,” the nation’s Joint Chiefs of Employees mentioned.

The North Korean navy has greater than 1.2 million lively troopers and an extra 7.7 million in reserves. It’s one of the largest ground forces in the world.

Jake Kwon reported from Seoul, South Korea; James Griffiths wrote from Hong Kong. Ben Westcott contributed reporting.

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