North Korea has executed its army chief of staff for alleged corruption and “factional conspiracy”, according to South Korean media.
Citing a source familiar with Pyongyang affairs, Yonhap news agency reported that Ri Yong-Gil was executed earlier this month, the latest in a series of purges and executions of top officials by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
“The execution… suggests that Kim Jong-Un still feels insecure about his grip on the country’s powerful military,” Yonhap quoted the source as saying.
Ri’s name was conspicuously missing from state media reports of a recent major party meeting and celebrations over Sunday’s rocket launch, Agence France-Presse noted.
Ri was the head of the Korean People’s Army General Staff.
Reports of purges, executions and disappearances have been common since Kim took power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il around four years ago.
A large number of senior officials, especially military cadres, were removed or demoted as the young leader sought to solidify his control over the powerful army.
In the most high-profile case, Kim had his influential uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, executed in December 2013 for charges including treason and corruption, AFP noted.
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