Zee Media Bureau
Seoul: Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old US war veteran currently detained by North Korea, had supervised a South Korean guerrillas during the Korean War, ex-members of the group reportedly said.
After his trip to North Korea, the war veteran was scheduled to visit South Korea to meet the fighters. Even as they were waiting to receive Newman at the Incheon International Airport, the North Korean authorities were forcing him off the place minutes before it was scheduled to take off, as per a news agency report.
Newman oversaw guerrilla actions and gave the fighters advice, but he wasn`t involved in day-to-day operations, according to the former rank-and-file members and analysts. He also gave them rice, clothes and weapons from the US military when they obtained key intelligence and captured North Korean and Chinese troops.
Newman reportedly apologised for alleged crimes during the Korean War and “hostile acts” committed during the recent trip in a video released by the North Korean authorities, state media earlier claimed.
Korean Central News Agency issued a statement which said that Newman had attempted to get in touch with surviving soldiers trained by him during the Korean War. It further said that he had confessed to killing civilians and carried material criticising North Korea, as per report.
The statement also said that once the war veteran returns to US, he will tell the “true features of the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea (DPRK).”
85-year-old Newman was detained by North Korea authorities while his plane was about to take off on October 26. He was on a 10-day tour of the country. While Newman was detained, his travelling companion former Stanford University professor Bob Hamrdla, was allowed to depart.