North Korean officials desperate to feed Kim Jong Un’s hungry army are ransacking the homes of drought-stricken farmers to collect every last grain of food inside, according to a report that highlights rising tensions between the regime and the public.
The raids come weeks after news surfaced that soldiers in Kim’s army are being given months off at a time to scrounge around fields to find food.
"Officials carried out home searches in Paekam County to determine how much food some families had,” a North Korean source told Daily NK. “As an excuse to enter and demand bribes, they said to the residents, 'Are we just going to let our military starve while the Americans lick their lips and prepare to eat us alive?'”
The Seoul-based website, which covers the Hermit Kingdom through a network of informants, published a photo last month purportedly showing North Korean soldiers rummaging through a corn field.
Despite drought conditions and a poor harvest last year in parts of North Korea, government officials are still demanding farmers fulfill a mandatory quota for military provisions.
“All individuals who weren't able to meet the demands have been receiving additional assignments since the very beginning of January," a source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK last week.
Another source in a neighboring province also said “these demands are pushing people to their wits' end."
Sources told the website residents are not surprised by the annual demands to offer food to the military, but the tactic of officials ransacking homes in some regions is a new development.
A few homes have been singled out, sources said, after they consumed frozen potatoes they intended to hand over to officials come collection time.
"The officers know better than anyone that they must feed their soldiers in order to maintain morale, and that rations of cornmeal with very few calories only serve to instill disillusionment among them,” a source from the northern Ryanggang Province told Daily NK last month.