North Korea's military massacred more than 1,100 South Korean Christians and Catholics during the 1950-53 Korean War, a state reconciliation panel said on Tuesday.
The North's Korean People's Army killed 1,026 Christians and 119 Catholics during its retreat from the South following an amphibious Incheon landing operation by UN forces, also known as Operation Chromite, on September 26, 1950, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission said, citing a report from the Seoul Theological University.
South Korean and UN forces were pushed back to the southern tip of the peninsula after the war broke out on June 25 but the successful Operation Chromite turned the tide in favour of the South, Yonhap News Agency cited the report as saying.
The massacres of religious people were carried out after North Korea issued an order to "eliminate reactionary forces" ahead of its retreat from the South, according to the report based on document research, witness testimonies and visits to victim churches.
By region, South Chungcheong and Jeolla provinces suffered the most from the massacres, the report noted.
It said North Korean soldiers killed 66 members of a protestant church in Nonsan of South Chungcheong from September 27-28, considering the church itself to be a hostile force.
In Jeongeup of North Jeolla Province, 167 elders and right-wing members of a protestant church were burned to death on September 27, the report said.
The North's massacres also occurred in Yeonggwang and Yeongam, both of South Jeolla Province, it added.