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.