North Korea has executed its army chief of staff, Ri Yong Gil, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, which, if true, would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and disappearances under its young leader. 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. A source familiar with North Korean affairs also told Reuters that Ri had been executed. The source declined to be identified, given the sensitivity of the matter. Ri, who was chief of the Korean People's Army (KPA) General Staff, was executed this month for corruption and factional conspiracy, Yonhap and other South Korean media reported.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.