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North Korean soldier defects after killing his unit

SEOUL, South Korea — A North Korean army sergeant defected to the South on Saturday, crossing the heavily armed border after shooting his unit leaders, a South Korean military spokesman said.

South Korean guards saw the soldier crossing around midday after hearing six gunshots from the northern side of the border, some 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from their post, the spokesman said.

The soldier put down his rifle and ran to the South Korean guard post when South Korean soldiers used a loudspeaker to confirm his intent to defect.

He told South Korean authorities that he crossed the border after killing his platoon and squad chiefs while on guard duty, the military said.

The last defection of a North Korean soldier to the South occurred in March 2010.

The two countries are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce.

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