In what's either disturbing misinformation or a very tragic reality, reports of cannibalism, often within families, are coming in from North Korea due to a massive "hidden famine" that has a stranglehold on the isolationist nation.
According to The Independent, a father was executed by firing squad after murdering his eldest daughter for food, and subsequently killing his son for witnessing the act.
Another report said that a grandfather dug up his grandson's remains for food, and that he was subsequently arrested. Additionally, according to a mid-ranking official of the Korean Workers Party, a man boiled and ate his son out of desperation, and he too was arrested as a result. Last year, a man was executed after eating part of a colleague and trying to sell the rest of his remains as mutton. Reports of cannibalism within North Korea's prison camps, where conditions are already notoriously terrible, are also prevalent. Curiously, all the reports we've found have been of men perpetrating the cannibalism.
The famine is suspected to have killed around 10,000 people, and reports of cannibalism throughout the country are getting ever more frequent. A supposed reason for the famine is a drought that has devastated the country's crop yields, but some speculate that the North Korean military takes most crops immediately after harvest and that the villagers get little to none of their share.
The starvation is having dramatic effects on the nation's children--in rural areas, children under the age of 5 are showing signs of stunted growth.
These are issues that have been in place since North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un's father, Kim Jong-Il, was in power. At one point it was reported that half of North Korea's military was starving, so while unfortunate it's not exactly surprising.
All of this harrowing news comes at a particularly hectic time for the nation, which has recently received sanctions from the UN due to missile testing. It's difficult to say what this all means for the rest of the world, but the humanitarian crisis in North Korea may eventually require outside aid, which the nation's leaders are reluctant to accept.
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