A member of North Korea’s Storm Corps was reportedly killed recently in a landmine explosion along the Sino-North Korean border in Yanggang Province.

According to a Daily NK source in Yanggang Province on Monday, the incident occurred as soldiers were laying mines along the border in Pochon in mid-October. One member of the Storm Corps was killed while three others were wounded.

The wounded were admitted to a local hospital and have undergone treatment. Meanwhile, rather than focusing on supporting and consoling the victims, North Korean authorities are making sure word of the landmine accident does not get out. 

Moreover, military authorities reportedly believe that the accident happened due to “soldiers’ insufficient field training in laying mines.” The source said the authorities are using the accident as an opportunity to reeducate soldiers on the ground, reviewing the theory of minelaying and carrying out field training.

The accident occurred as the soldiers were laying actual landmines, not the “firecrackers” that had been set along the border with China. The authorities have been laying mines since early last month, entrusting the Storm Corps with the BBM-82 fragmentation mines currently in use in North Korea as anti-personnel mines.

police official cameras
A North Korean border guard post on the Sino-North Korean border. Surveillance cameras can be seen nearby. / Image: Kang Dong Wan

“The mines being laid along the border in Yanggang Province since early last month are small fragmentation mines,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The mine is made of plastic, with a kill radius of about three meters.”

According to him, the mines were being laid under the pretext of the quarantine against the coronavirus, but the “real goal was to stop people from crossing the river [into China].”

In fact, after locals learned about the incident, “they’ve grown more fearful about defecting,” he added. 

The source pointed out, however, that he is unsure whether North Korea will continue to lay deadly landmines along the border with China.

“The mines laid this time are portable landmines the Storm Corps would use when they infiltrate enemy rear positions in wartime,” said the source. “We’ll have to wait and see whether the Sino-North Korean border will become a large-scale mine field.”

Quoting a source in North Korea, Radio Free Asia reported on Oct. 27 that the authorities have moved to landmine the Sino-North Korean border, leading to a significant increase in tension among locals on the border. 

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