The 'sacked' Commander-in-Chief of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) forces may have been among the 20 or 30 soldiers killed during a gun fight, when the incoming commander attempted to carry out orders to sack him, according to Chosun.com, a major South Korean news website affiliated with Chosunilbo.
The news was also quoted today by China’s Xinhua news agency website.
Unconfirmed intelligence reports suggest Ri Yong-ho, the sacked army chief may have been injured or killed in the fight, according to Chosun.com. Ri has not been seen since earlier this week,
"We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the firefight," said one source, the website reported.
Guards protecting Ri apparently opened fire when the new commander-in-chief, Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, attempted to detain him on orders from the leader Kim Jong-un, according to Seoul-based government officials.
The “sacked” Ri Yong-ho became extremely powerful under the late DPRK leader Kim Jong-il's "songun" or military-first doctrine.
"It may take some time for us to gain a clearer picture of what happened," The website said.