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Army chief offers resignation over soldier's death


SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Army chief offered to resign Tuesday over the death of a conscript who allegedly suffered physical, sexual and mental abuse by his comrades, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Army private first class died in April after allegedly being hit in the chest by his senior colleagues at their barracks in Yeoncheon, just south of the inter-Korean border.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Kwon Oh-sung expressed his intention to step down to Defense Minister Han Min-koo, defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters.

"I feel very sorry for causing great concern to the people due to a series of recent incidents in the Army, including the soldier's death," Kwon was quoted as saying by Kim. "I feel heavy responsibility for the situation, and offer to resign for the nation and the military."

An initial investigation found that the deceased recruit had suffered severe physical abuse as well as sexual harassment for about a month after joining the unit in March. Bruises from numerous beatings were found all over his body.

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