The parents of a South Korean conscript soldier who killed five comrades in a grenade and gun attack pleaded with him to surrender on Sunday, after he exchanged fire with troops who had tracked him down near a school close to the North Korean border.
The soldier threw a grenade and opened fire, killing five members of his unit and wounding seven others, at an outpost in the base at Goseong county, a mountainous region that borders the North on the eastern coast of the peninsula.
A manhunt went in to full swing at daybreak, with helicopters sweeping the heavily forested hillsides and Special Forces took part in a search that, according to a colonel briefing media, involved the equivalent of nine battalions.
Discovered hiding near a school some 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the base, the soldier opened fire on troops, wounding a platoon leader in the arm, YTN television news channel reported.
Troops had orders to ‘shoot to kill’ unless the fugitive soldier surrendered, YTN reported, citing military officials.
The parents of the soldier, according to Yonhap news agency, were taken to the site, where his mother pleaded with him to surrender as a stand-off developed after the initial burst of gunfire.
“I heard several gun shots for 10 minutes,” Byun Sang-man, a 80 year old farmer, told Reuters from the village.
“We can’t go outside… Soldiers have spread out all around our town. The headman told people this morning to stay inside through loudspeakers.”
A military official identified the soldier as Sergeant Lim, and said he was due to be discharged on Sept. 16.