South Korea's spy agency says North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, has ordered the execution of 15 senior leaders this year.
Seoul spy officials provided that information to lawmakers during a private session of parliament Wednesday, according to lawmaker Shin Kyung-min.
One of the executed officials was said to be a vice minister for forestry, who was killed after complaining about Kim's forestation plan.
The information could not be confirmed. North Korea's notoriously secretive government has not commented on any of the executions.
Kim Jong Un has in the past ordered the execution of top deputies, even those close to him.
In late 2013, Kim had his uncle and close adviser, Jang Song Thaek, killed after accusing him of treason and other anti-state activities.
Kim, who is thought to be in his early 30s, took over following the sudden, unexpected death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011.
He has since carried out several leadership shuffles that observers see as an attempt to solidify his hold on power.
Material for this report came from AP, AFP, Reuters.