İrem UZUN -TDO- North Korean troops shot dead a South Korean fisheries official who went missing earlier this week, before dousing his body in oil and setting it on fire in what was likely an effort to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, South Korea’s military said on Thursday.

Seoul said the man, who worked for the fisheries department, disappeared from a patrol boat near the border and was later found in the North's waters. North Korean soldiers shot him, then poured oil over his body and set it alight, the ministry said. It believed it was an anti-coronavirus measure. Pyongyang has not commented. The incident would be the second time North Korean troops have shot and killed a South Korean civilian. In July 2008, a tourist was shot by a soldier at Mount Kumgang.

In a statement, the South Korean military said it "strongly condemns the North's atrocities" and urged Pyongyang to provide an explanation and punish those responsible. "In addition, we sternly warn that North Korea is responsible for the atrocities committed against our citizen," the statement added.

President Moon Jae-in called the killing a "shocking" incident that cannot be tolerated. He urged the North to take "responsible" measures over the attack. The country's National Security Council said the North could "not justify shooting and burning the corpse of our unarmed citizen who showed no sign of resistance". "This military action is in violation of international regulations," said Suh-Choo-suk, Secretary General of the National Security Council. "We will firmly respond to any action by North Korea that threatens the life and safety of our people."

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