Updated August. 13, 2014 06:30
An unfortunate incident has occurred, where two draftees out on leave jointly committed suicide. It is even more shocking as they belonged to the same division in the Army as the draftee named Yoon who died after being beaten by multiple superiors. We cannot help but doubt that the 28th Division has a structural problem triggering abuse and suicides, leading to more tragedy.
Corporal A, who killed himself with his fellow draftee on Monday, had attempted suicide after being drafted, and Corporal B, who died with him, was on the militarys list of soldiers requiring special attention, who had been deemed liable to commit suicide in his test. Moreover, Corporal A told a comrade in June this year that he planned to commit joint suicide with Corporal B during his leave in August, yet this fact was not even reported to the supervisors. Immediately before taking his life, Corporal A left a memo saying he wanted to kill a Corporal identified as Kim. Despite that, a 28th Division official said whether they were beaten is not confirmed yet.
Since it is a unit that turns a deaf ear to even forecasts of suicides, it makes us wonder whether their habit of cover-ups in spite of signs of beating has reared its ugly head again. The military must identify whether the senior Corporal Kim physically abused the two men and whether the joint suicides are connected to any abuse.
The 28th Division guards the furthest outposts including the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province. The division covers the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), through which the Imjin River flows, which gives it the difficult task of watching both land and water. Yet that does not condone physical abuse and human rights violations. The Defense Ministry must make the stern resolve to even dismantle the 28th Division itself and investigate closely the structural problems it has, which lead to major incidents and correct them.
Although the leader of the 28th Division has been relieved of his position due to the Yoon incident, his successor has not yet taken position. All leaders in the regiment, which Yoon was in, have been replaced. The two suicides must have added even more burdens on the division, throwing it into severe confusion. The military should hurry to appoint the successor and urgently restore the command system. If the 28th Division is left as it is, it will leave a gaping hole in the frontier combat ability.