Malnourished North Korean soldiers are reportedly increasingly raiding farms and fields of North Korean citizens, sources inside the reclusive country revealed to South Korean media.
“Soldiers from the 43rd Brigade raided the fields one night. They all gathered for the surprise attack, fanned out across the farms and swept up all the corn,” a source in Ryanggang Province revealed to Daily NK. “It’s not an everyday occurrence for the 43rd Brigade to go around plundering the farms, but they have become much more brazen,” the source added.
The 43rd Brigade was established as a special forces unit trained to engage in mountain warfare and night combat, as well as protect important North Korean sites from stealth attacks. Now, the unit former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il once commended is conducting night raids on local farms.
“It’s a disgrace that soldiers are stealing food because they are hungry, but we should not blame the soldiers entirely. The problem is that the regime does not feed its own military, which means that pillaging will only continue,” Daily NK’s source introduced.
North Korea struggles to feed its population, the vast majority of which is malnourished.
“The regime has not been providing enough food for its army,” a source inside North Korea revealed in August. Officers have reportedly instructed their soldiers to steal food to increase readiness. “The military officers are instructing their soldiers, exhausted after training, to eat corn in the fields because war is imminent,” North Korean insiders told Daily NK this past summer. “They are even threatening their soldiers, saying, ‘If you become malnourished despite permission to eat the corn, you will face difficulties,” the source in North Hamgyong Province explained.
Furthermore, an order was reportedly issued last month stating that military personnel have to collect provisions themselves. The order is believed to be a response to the country’s inability to provide for is forces. It is unclear how prolific the raids on local farms are at this time.
North Korea is under tough sanctions that are crippling both exports and imports and hindering economic growth. Food shortages have been reported, and the prices of certain goods appear to be on the rise, which suggests that ongoing domestic trends may continue.
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