Two soldiers with a military engineering unit in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, have fled after murdering two locals last month, Daily NK has learned. Their unit has been tasked with constructing concrete walls and high voltage wires along the North Korea-China border.

A source in the province told Daily NK on Friday that North Korean authorities have put out wanted notices for the soldiers, who allegedly killed the two people when they were caught stealing food in a residential area. 

According to the source, soldiers with the military engineering construction unit in Hoeryong are suffering from extreme hunger and frequently leave construction sites to steal food from residential areas. 

In mid-June, the two soldiers in question raided a kindergarten in a residential area under the cover of darkness. While trying to steal food from its storage room and cafeteria, they were discovered by a kindergarten teacher standing guard and her mother. The mother was there to help her daughter, who had been tasked with guarding the facility alone. The soldiers proceeded to “mercilessly” stab the pair to death.

North Korean soldiers seen constructing fences along the border last year. / Image: Daily NK

“After the two soldiers committed the murders, they cleaned out all the food and disappeared, and they haven’t been caught yet,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “After the incident, the Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Social Security, local military units, and personnel from [military engineering] units building the concrete wall and high voltage wires sealed off the area and searched everywhere [for the culprits], but they found no trace of them.”

The next day, the authorities in North Hamgyong Province issued an order to capture the two soldiers. The day after that, North Korean authorities expanded the order nationwide. With little idea about where the alleged murders are, the authorities also issued an order to “intensify border patrols” with a view to “catch [the culprits] without fail.”

According to the source, residents of Hoeryong and other border districts of North Hamgyong Province are anxiety-ridden because soldiers deployed to the area frequently enter residential areas to steal unripened crops from family farms and ransack empty homes.

“People living in the border area were already full of anxiety because of thieving soldiers, but now they are scared out of their wits because of this incident,” said the source. “It’s been around two weeks since the soldiers committed the murders and fled, but their whereabouts still remain unknown. Locals feel anxious because they don’t know when and where another murder might occur.”

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to