According to reports, Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Worker’s Party of Korea and supreme leader of the DPRK, was killed in an explosion in Pyongyang by a female suicide bomber.
The lack of foreign journalists based in Pyongyang makes corroborating the story hard. However, at this point the following facts have been revealed by KCTV (조선중앙텔레비죤):
The attack on Kim Jong-un was carried out at around 14:00 local time in the Potonggang District of Pyongyang. Mr Kim was attending the commemoration of a new state built on the banks of the Potong River when a female spectator burst past security barricades and sprinted in his direction.
Mr Kim’s bodyguards drew their weapons, but before they had a chance to fire upon the female, she detonated a device which is believed to be a suicide jacket. The ensuing blast seriously wounded Mr Kim, and despite being rushed to a nearby hospital he was pronounced dead on arrival.
State media has been completely silent on the topic of who among the DPRK’s remaining leadership may succeed Mr Kim, who held the post of supreme leader after his father, Kim Jong-il, passed away in late 2011. There exists a power vacuum among North Korea’s elite, with the younger Kim conducting a series of purges aimed at consolidating his power in recent times.
Foreign media outlets have speculated that Kim’s sister, Ms Kim Yo-jung, who currently holds the position of deputy director of the Korean Worker’s Party, is a leading candidate. “Some analysts claim that during Kim Jong-Un’s lengthy absence from the public eye in 2014, that she may have been running the country.”
Witnesses to the blast were interviewed on Korean state media but were mostly too consumed by grief to share any useful information. One exception was a younger North Korean man who was interviewed, who reported that the female bomber was ‘beautiful’. “She had half the men in the crowd watching her,” he commented, before his interview was abruptly terminated by KCTV. There has been speculation by some North Korean experts that the woman involved in the suicide attack could have been earlier rescued from a secret brothel operating to service Pyongyang’s elite.