SEOUL (Web Desk) – North Korea has executed its army chief of staff Ri Yong Gil for corruption and other offences, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.
The news, which, if true, would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and disappearances under its young leader, 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.
General Ri Yong Gil was appointed in 2013 and was seen accompanying Kim on inspections of military exercises as well as trips to the Defense Ministry until last month, the report said.
But he did not attend last week’s meetings, and at the celebrations of the missile launch on Sunday, official media listed General Ri Myong Su among the attendees in his place.
The disappeared general may have incurred Kim’s displeasure by objecting to recent appointments of party leaders to key military posts, or he could have fallen victim to a plot among wider power circles to remove him, the source was quoted as saying.