[EDITORIALS]Security under attack

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[EDITORIALS]Security under attack

Two soldiers of a military unit under the command of the Capital Defense Corps were stabbed by intruders while on guard duty and had their rifles stolen. It is difficult to understand how such a crime could be committed. The military authorities should quickly determine what happened and arrest the criminals, while punishing those responsible.

There are several suspicious aspects to this case. For starters, the guard post, with its high fence and barbed-wire entanglements, was inassessible to civilians from the outside. Some observers point out that the military unit is not a good target for stealing weapons, given the busy vehicle traffic around the area which is heavily guarded. Furthermore, it seems incomprehensible that thieves would take such a huge risk for a few unloaded rifles.

Nevertheless, it is intolerable that soldiers on guard had their weapons taken away. Last year, intruders attacked two guards with blunt objects and ran off with their rifles and blank ammunition from a military base near Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang province. Given that a similar incident occurred just seven months later, the military authorities must be held responsible for neglecting to take preventive measures.

The Capital Defense Corps, which is in charge of defending Seoul and the surrounding areas, is the most elite unit in the Korean military. Guard duty, by its nature, must be flawless. No matter what the circumstances, the fact that CDC soldiers had their rifles seized by attackers reveals egregious lapses in the defense of the Seoul metropolitan area. We are also concerned that discipline in the military has slackened amid the atmosphere of inter-Korean dialogues.

With the World Cup less than 100 days away the public's attention is focused on strengthening anti-terror and security measures. In this tense climate, an incident of soldiers being attacked and robbed of their weapons could cause social instability. Security should be strengthened to prevent the recurrence of such crimes. Civilians, the government and the military should cooperate to nab the offenders. Considering that civilians' reports often lead to the arrest of criminals in such cases, we urge the public to assist in the investigation, if possible.

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