Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Wonsan Army-People Power Station in this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Dec. 13, 2016. KCNA via REUTERS

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un executed several officials of the country’s state security ministry and fired its chief Kim Won Hong over suspicion of power abuse, corruption and human rights violations, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon Hee said Friday. This follows series of high-level purges in the reclusive states since Kim assumed power since late 2011.

Kim Won Hong, who became head of the ministry in April 2012, was reported to be leader Kim’s close aide. He is reported to be behind December 2013 execution of Kim’s uncle and high-profile leader Jang Song Thaek. Kim decided to fire 72-year-old Kim Won Hong after the ruling party’s Organization and Guidance Department — which supervises state agencies — conducted an investigation of the state security ministry, according to Yonhap News Agency citing the South Korea government. He was officially removed from his post in mid-January.

"Instability in the North Korean regime is likely to increase as the elite members may become agitated and the regime's control over ordinary North Koreans could weaken," Jeong said, according to Yonhap News Agency.

North Korea's Kim Won Hong
Kim Won Hong, North Korea's spy angency chief, has been sacked by the country's leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's government said Friday. Pictured: Kim Won Hong's profile picture is shown in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA

The Yonhap report also stated that North Korea executed several of the state security ministry’s authorities following the investigation.

"There is growing public discontent and fear over the leader's repressive rule. The dismissal appears to be aimed at easing complaints from North Koreans and showing that the leader cares for his people," Yonhap reported, citing a government official.

In December, Kim reportedly warned his country’s officials against forming cliques, which triggered concern among top authorities about possible purge the leader. Kim reportedly cautioned officials who “stick together and speak in whispers” from setting up “little kingdoms,” in a bid to bring subordinates in line with their objectives.

North Korea, which is one of the world’s most reclusive nations, has seen several high-level purges under Kim’s rule after he assumed power in 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. However, several reports of purges and executions in the country have later proved false.