Hundreds of soldiers dead or missing following flooding

Choi Song Min  |  2016-09-28 11:57
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Barracks and guard huts were overcome by powerful flooding earlier this month in North Koreas North Hamgyong Province, and hundreds of border guards are said to have perished or gone missing as a result, Daily NK has learned.

Its well known that this flood has caused the deaths of numerous civilians, but its also important to note that the flood has wiped out hundreds of border guards stationed on the banks of the Tumen River. The guards were sleeping in their barracks when the buildings were overcome with water, resulting in their sudden death or disappearance, a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK.

The majority of the victims belonged to the Musan Squadron of North Hamgyongs 27th Brigade and Yonsa Countys Namyang Brigade, as the brigades barracks were located within 20 meters of the Tumen River. Each platoon kept two soldiers stationed on watch while the remaining 30 soldiers were in their beds. 

Those sleeping were unable to escape the raging waters, the source lamented.

In addition, dozens of guard posts located on the banks of the river were overcome by the flood. Soldiers posted at these locations are also dead or missing.  Seven to eight soldiers were stationed at nighttime detection stations. They also fell victim to the rising flood waters. 

Weapons and ammunition being stored and guarded at the relevant facilities were carried away by the floodwaters or buried in the sludge thereafter. Furthermore, extremely expensive night surveillance equipment purchased with foreign currency from Germany was also damaged or lost. 

Upon hearing the word about the flood, the source said, cadres in charge of the units located near the river hurriedly rallied the 27th Brigades officers to organize a mission to find the missing weapons and equipment. This search operation involves not just soldiers, but also individuals from civil defense forces from enterprises and collective farms."

An additional source in North Hamgyong Province explained that the authorities are concerned that some residents will take advantage of the authorities loss of nighttime surveillance equipment and attempt to defect. Therefore, soldiers, police, and civil-military groups have been mobilized to establish three cordoned off checkpoints to prevent such an outcome.

Instructions were handed down to the residents through inminban [peoples unit, a type of neighborhood watch] meetings, wherein it was stated that a curfew is in effect and all people should return to their homes by 9 p.m. The curfew is being enforced by the armed soldiers and Ministry of Peoples Security [MPS] officers.

Leading cadres from the 27th Brigade and Pyongyang have come down to deal with the matter, expressing more interest and concern in the lost and damaged arms and munitions rather than in the loss of human life associated with the flood, he lamented.
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