Monday 10 March 2008
S'INSCRIRE A CHRETIENS EN RESEAU
By BosNewsLife Correspondents Stefan J. Bos and Eric Leijenaar
SEOUL/PYONGYANG (BosNewsLife)— North Korea has executed 15 of its citizens for their attempt to flee the country in search for food, an aid group said in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife Sunday, March 9.
Good Friends, a South Korean organization working in North Korea, said in its newsletter that thirteen women and two men were executed February 20 by firing squad on a bridge in the northeastern town of Onseong, on the border with China and Russia.
They were allegedly accused of crossing the Tumen River into neighboring China or helping others to cross, the aid agency said. Good Friends refused to say how it obtained the information, but previous reports from the group have proved to be accurate.
North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated countries, suffers from regular food shortages and required more than four million tons of food aid in the decade to 2005, according to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
Some 37 percent of young children are chronically malnourished, and one-third of mothers both malnourished and anaemic, said the most recent large scale survey, conducted in October 2004 by WFP, UNICEF and the government.
There are at least tens of thousands of North Korean refugees, including Christians, living in China where they arrived to escape hunger as well as religious and political oppression, several rights groups have said.
The recent report of executions were seen as sending a chilling message to others attempting to escape the country of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
It also overshadowed suggestions by a former American official that North Korea and the United States could establish better relations following the February 26 performance in Pyongyang of the New York Philharmonic.
Former US Defense Secretary William Perry, who was in the audience, said he hoped the concert would push Washington and Pyongyang "over the top" and pave the way for improved ties.
The White House, however, played down the event, calling it "just another concert."
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