A North Korean soldier was killed in an explosion while laying explosives at the border with China, it has been reported.
It comes after claims that leader Kim Jong-un ordered anti-coronavirus landmines from the North Korean border.
The extreme measure would have been ordered by the dictator in an attempt to prevent the bug from spreading.
The soldier, believed to be from the North Korean Storm Corp., worked with other officers who laid landmines.
Three other soldiers are said to have been injured while carrying out the deadly task in Yanggang province.
According to the Daily NK, the landmine explosion occurred in mid-October.
A source in Yanggang province told the outlet that soldiers were laying mines in Pochon when the explosion occurred.
Authorities have blamed Storm Corps forces for the incident, citing “insufficient field training in mine laying.”
North Korean officials have also reportedly tried to cover up the incident as the three injured soldiers were treated at a local hospital, it reports to express.
Previously, North Korean forces had used ‘fireworks’ at the border with China, but they were authorized to use military-grade explosives.
Authorities had ordered troops to lay BBM-82 fragmentation mines, used by the military for anti-personnel purposes, along the border as early as last month.
The source of the Daily NK said: “The mines being laid along the border in Yanggang province since early last month are small fragment mines.
“The mine is made of plastic, with a kill radius of about three meters.”
Kim Jong-un ordered North Korea’s borders to be closed early this year after China began reporting the spread of the coronavirus.
In October, it was reported that North Korean troops had been ordered to fire to enter or leave the country in an effort to prevent the virus.
In September, North Korean forces killed a South Korean official who was spotted in the waters of the north.
Kim Jong-un personally apologized to South Korean leader Moon Jae-in for the “disgraceful affair,” with Seoul claiming that the troops set the officials’ bodies on fire after they were killed.
But the Daily NK source alleges that the landmines placed on the Chinese border were not placed due to fears of the coronavirus.
They instead claimed that the “real goal was to prevent people from crossing the river” into China and to scare locals into defecting.
After the locals learned of the explosion, the source claimed “they have become more afraid to defect.”