SEOUL, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- An outbreak of diarrhea that soldiers are cynically describing as a "gift from Kim Jong Un" is affecting a North Korean unit of border guards, sources in the country say.
Multiple soldiers have fallen ill after consuming new food that was expressly supplied for border guards by the general rear services bureau of North Korea's ministry of people's armed forces, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.
A source in North Hamgyong Province told RFA, "Under the direction of Kim Jong Un, North Korea's people's armed forces increased the supply of materials to improve the diet of border guard soldiers."
"However, diarrhea has spread among soldiers who consumed the new food supply and is causing an uproar," the source added.
Kim allegedly made the decision to supply better food after receiving reports from officers who had toured flood-stricken areas of the country.
The North Korean leader has yet to visit the flood-hit regions.
The officers saw border guards were not receiving a satisfactory diet in the wards, and Kim ordered the armed forces to "prepare meals for the border guard soldiers so that they would not envy a Chinese person" with better dietary options.
The new food began to be supplied Dec. 1 when winter training began for the military, the source said.
But some of the supplies were defective and were mixed in with "iron powder" and "threads," a source in Yanggang Province told RFA.
Sand was found in delivered soup stock, and a provision of Japanese sandfish had a strange smell, according to the source.
The sandfish caused diarrhea among soldiers and the outbreak has given rise to new levels of cynicism regarding Kim's policies, the source said.