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Senior officials of N.K. leader's bodyguard unit purged: report

North Korea 10:30 December 11, 2018

TOKYO, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- Senior officials of the bodyguard unit for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have been purged for corruption, a Japanese newspaper report said Tuesday.

The Tokyo Shimbun report came a day after North Korea's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country has declared war on corruption, and called for punishment of those involved in such "enemy-benefiting" acts, regardless of their rank.

In a report from Beijing, the Japanese newspaper cited multiple sources saying that senior officials of the Supreme Court Command were purged after a special inspection found that the chief of the command's political department secretly possessed millions of dollars.

The report said it is unusual for the North to conduct an inspection of the command loyal to the leader. It also cited sources saying that the purge is aimed at consolidating leader Kim's grip on power.

North Korea has often purged senior officials on charges of corruption as a way to strengthen the leader's hold on power and to rally internal support for the leader. Leader Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was executed in December 2013 on charges of treason and corruption.

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