North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle, seen as his nephew's political regent and one of the most powerful men in the country, has been ousted and several of his associates executed, South Korean officials said.
In a briefing to a parliamentary committee, South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) said Jang Song-Thaek had been removed as vice chairman of the North's top military body, the National Defence Commission, an opposition lawmaker told reporters.
If confirmed, Jang's ouster would mark the most significant political upheaval in the top North Korean leadership since Kim succeeded his late father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011.
In an emergency briefing with MPs, the NIS said Jang was "recently ousted from his position and two of his close confidantes - Ri Yong-Ha and Jang Soo-Kil - were publicly executed in mid-November", legislator Jung Cheong-Rae told reporters.
"The execution was notified to all military personnel. Since then, Jang has disappeared," Jung said.