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North Korean Troops Shot and then Set on Fire a South Korean Official

North Korean troops shot dead a government worker for the South Korean Fisheries Department  after crossing a maritime border into North Korea, Seoul said Thursday.

The 47-year-old fisheries officer went missing from a patrol boat near Yeonpyeong Island on Monday. The officer was found by the North Korean military the next afternoon and later executed after being interrogated. The South Korean government condemned the incident and demanded that North Korea take responsibility for the killings and take action against the perpetrators.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said the North Korean troops had poured oil on his body after shooting and set it on fire for allegedly crossing the maritime border, because they feared of the spreading of coronavirus. There has been no response from North Korean authorities to the incident. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the immediate firing of those crossing the border in the wake of the Covid expansion.

In a statement, the South Korean military said it "strongly condemns the North's atrocities" and urged Pyongyang to provide an explanation and punish those responsible.

"In addition, we sternly warn that North Korea is responsible for the atrocities committed against our citizen," the statement added.

This is the second time North Korean troops have shot dead a South Korean citizen. In 2008, a South Korean tourist was shot dead by North Korean troops in the Kumgang Mountains. 

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