According to South Korea’s spy agency, General Hyon Yong-chol, the North Korean defense minister, has been executed for showing disloyalty to Kim Jong-un.
The spy agency has told South Korean parliament that Gen. Hyon Yong-chol was killed on April 30 by anti-aircraft fire in front of an audience of hundreds, the Yonhap news agency reports.
Reports from North Korea are impossible to independently confirm.
According to analysis site NK News, Hyon Yong-chol had last appeared in state media a day before the alleged execution date.
Hyon Yong-chol is believed to have been a general since 2010, though little is known about him. He served on the committee for late leader Kim Jong-il’s funeral in December 2011, an indication of his growing influence.
He was appointed defense minister in 2014.
Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of purges of close officials since becoming North Korea’s leader.
The most notable was his uncle, Chang Song-thaek – once North Korea’s second-most powerful figure.
Chang Song-thaek was arrested in December 2013 in front of a party meeting, found guilty of treason and immediately executed. The move was widely seen as the young Kim Jong-un stamping his authority.