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Killing spree highlights stress of South Korea military service

Published on Jun 24, 2014 10:04 AM
 
South Korean soldiers get in their military vehicles as they take part in a search and arrest operation in Goseong on June 23, 2014. A deadly shooting spree by a South Korean military serviceman has once again raised questions over the wisdom of deploying young, inexperienced and often unprepared conscripts along the world's last Cold War frontier. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

SEOUL (AFP) - A deadly shooting spree by a South Korean military serviceman has once again raised questions over the wisdom of deploying young, inexperienced and often unprepared conscripts along the world's last Cold War frontier.

It is still unclear what caused the 22-year-old sergeant, identified only by his family name Lim, to suddenly turn his gun on members of his own unit near the border with North Korea last Saturday, killing five and wounding seven.

According to military officials, Lim had trouble adapting to military life, and psychological evaluations had recommended that his officers keep a special eye on him. But that alone does not explain why he acted as he did, especially as he only had a few months remaining of the two years' military service that is mandatory for every able-bodied South Korean male between the ages of 18 and 35.

And Lim's is not an isolated case, with several other instances in the past decade of military servicemen posted in the border area turning their weapons on their fellow soldiers.

 
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