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(LEAD) Army serviceman attempts suicide in border area

All Headlines 15:13 March 11, 2016

(ATTN: EXPANDS dateline; UPDATES with another soldier's death in paras 5-11)

SEOUL/GANGNEUNG, South Korea, March 11 (Yonhap) - A noncommissioned Army officer was seriously injured in a suspected suicide attempt near the heavily fortified border with North Korea on Friday, a military official said.

The sergeant first class, whose name has been withheld, shot himself at around 10:00 a.m. at his place of duty in Yeoncheon, located midway along the Demilitarized Zone which separates the two Koreas, the official said.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but his injury is not life-threatening, according to the official who asked not to be named.

The military is investigating the motive of the incident, although "the sergeant first class appears to have attempted suicide," he said.

In a separate case in a different location at around the same time of day, a 23-year-old Army corporal jumped from an apartment building in an apparent suicide, authorities said.

The conscript, whose identity was withheld, was found in an apartment complex by a passerby at around 9:50 a.m. in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, some 240 kilometers east of Seoul.

The conscript was serving his mandatory term of duty as a full-time reserve soldier, commuting to work on a daily basis.

He left work early in the morning after an overnight guard duty shift, according to military officials.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required to serve about two years of mandatory military service, as the country is technically at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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