North Korean army minister 'executed with mortar round'

A North Korean army minister was executed with a mortar round for reportedly drinking and carousing during the official mourning period after Kim Jong-il's death.

North Korean army minister 'executed with mortar round'
Mortar Photo: ALAMY
Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, was taken into custody earlier this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un, who assumed the leadership after the death of his father in December.
On the orders of Kim Jong-un to leave "no trace of him behind, down to his hair," according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and "obliterated."
The execution of Kim Chol is just one example of a purge of members of the North Korean military or party who threatened the fledgling regime of Kim Jong-un.
So far this year, 14 senior officials have fallen victim to the purges, according to intelligence data provided to Yoon Sang-hyun, a member of the South Korean Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee.
Those that have fallen from favour include Ri Yong-ho, the head of the army and Ri Kwang-gon, the governor of the North Korean central bank.
Analysts suggest that Mr Kim, who took over as head of state after the death of his father late last year, is acting to consolidate his own power base and deter any criticism of his youthfulness and inexperience. Mr Kim is believed to be either 28 or 29.
"When Kim Jong-un became North Korean leader following the mourning period for his father in late December, high-ranking military officers started disappearing," a source told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper. "From information compiled over the last month, we have concluded that dozens of military officers were purged."
It also appears that Mr Kim ordered his loyal officials to use the excuse of misbehaviour during the mourning period for his father to remove any potential opponents.
Other officials have been executed by firing squads, including Ryu Kyong, a senior intelligence expert.
Since being elevated to second-in-command of the nation by his father in September 2010, Kim has reportedly been behind the dismissal of at least 31 senior officials.
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Turkey Forces Syrian Jet to Land

Passengers detained briefly over suspected military cargo  – Relations between Syria and Turkey got even more volatile today when Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger plane to land in Ankara, reports the BBC. Turkish officials detained the plane and passengers briefly and confiscated suspected military cargo. They wouldn't specify what came off the plane, which was flying in from Moscow. "We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians," said Turkey's foreign minister. "It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace." The move comes a week after Turkey shelled Syrian positions, in retaliation for Syrian mortars killing Turkish civilians in a border town. Today, a Turkish general warned that the army's response would be "even stronger" if the Syrian shelling continues near the border, reports the New York Times. A stream of Syrian civilians—"many of them women with screaming children clinging to their necks"—is crossing a narrow river into Turkey as the fighting between the army and rebels intensifies, reports Reuters.
READ MORE - Turkey Forces Syrian Jet to Land
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