Kim Jong-un’s military chief has been executed on charges of corruption, it was reported Wednesday.
Army General Ri Yong-gil, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, was conspicuous in his absence from events celebrating the North’s controversial satellite launch on Sunday.
Ri is believed to have been charged with pursuing personal gains and may have been ousted after raising objections to Kim’s recent appointments of party leaders to military posts, a source said.
If confirmed, it would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and disappearances under its young tyrant.
The source, who is familiar with North Korean affairs, said: ‘Ri Yong-gil is known to have been faithful to principles, so it appears the North cited (the charges) to justify his execution.
‘This shows that Kim Jong-un is very nervous about the armed forces. It also shows his reign of terror continues.’
The news comes amid heightened tension surrounding isolated North Korea after its Sunday launch of a long-range rocket, which came about a month after it drew international condemnation for conducting its fourth nuclear test.
It is believed Ri was executed last week around the time Kim presided over a joint meeting of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party and the military, but it is not clear how he was killed.