Xinjiang identifies terror organization
Updated: 2011-08-02 07:49
By Shao Wei, Mao Weihua and Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
Wang Jili, who was injured during a terror attack on Saturday, receives treatment in a Kashgar hospital. Wang suffered head injuries but is in stable condition. Mao Weihua / China Daily
Separatists were led by militants trained in Pakistan
KASHGAR, Xinjiang - A group of religious extremists led by militants trained in overseas terrorist camps was behind the terror attack on civilians in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Sunday that left six dead and 15 others wounded, the local government said on Monday.
The attack in Kashgar on Sunday followed a truck hijacking and an attack on civilians on Saturday.
Shops, restaurants and markets were closed in the city's Food Street area on Monday as armed police guarded the main square. Two Uygur suspects that fled the scene on Sunday were killed on Monday by police.
According to suspects captured after the attacks, the group's leaders learned how to make explosives and firearms in camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist group in Pakistan, the government of Kashgar said in an online statement.
"The acts of terror were intended to sabotage ethnic unity ... instigate hatred and see Xinjiang secede from the country," the statement said.
The United Nations and both the Chinese and US governments have labeled the ETIM an international terror organization.
Counter-terrorism expert Li Wei said that the terror attack on Sunday, the one on Saturday night that killed eight citizens and an attack on July 18 on a police station in the region's Hotan city, were coordinated.
"The series of attacks in such a short span had to be coordinated and planned over a long period," he said.
"The attacks inside China must have connections with anti-China forces based overseas."
He warned that "the possibility of more attacks may still exist".
The two suspects killed by police on Monday were identified as 29-year-old Memtieli Tiliwaldi and 34-year-old Turson Hasan.
Both were local ethnic Uygurs, according to the police.
Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China, has ordered a crackdown on terrorists, religious extremists, and illegal religious activities at an emergency meeting held in the regional capital Urumqi following the attacks.
"Strong and effective measures should be taken to prevent more terror attacks and guarantee people's safety, their assets and regional stability," he said.
"(We should) resolutely punish terrorists according to the law, crack down on terror activities, resolutely crack down on extreme religious forces and effectively contain illegal religious activities."
Zhang also said that social management and control should be strengthened.
"People in Xinjiang should stay vigilant and recognize that terrorists are the 'common enemies of all ethnic groups', " Zhang said.
Six civilians were killed, 15 others - including three policemen - were injured after attackers set fire to a restaurant and started randomly killing civilians in Kashgar on Sunday.
A doctor with the local 120 medical center told China Daily that nine people were rushed into intensive care on Sunday afternoon.
Five suspects were shot dead by police who arrived at the scene after emergency calls by local residents, according to local police.
Injured police officer Zhang Chao, 18, one of the first group of police officers at the scene, said he saw "blood all over the ground when I arrived.
"About seven or eight Uygur rioters wielding sickles and kitchen knives ran to attack us as soon as we arrived.
"Only one officer in the car, our leader, had a gun. The rest of us had anti-personnel spray and batons, so I took out my spray can. Two men aged between 25 to 30 attacked me without saying a word."
Then another group of officers arrived within thirty seconds and subdued the terrorists, Zhang said.
The violence on Sunday followed terror incidents in the same area on Saturday night.
Two suspects hijacked a truck at 11:45 pm, stabbed the driver to death and drove the vehicle into pedestrians. The terrorists then jumped out of the truck and hacked bystanders.
Eight people were killed on the spot and 27 others were injured.
Wang Jili, a 49-year-old man from Shanxi province, was attacked when he was chatting with his wife and relatives near the intersection of the Second Ring Road and Food Street on Saturday night.
"Suddenly, I heard a big bang like a blast. Then I fell down and lost consciousness.
"When I woke up I saw people on the ground. My skull was badly fractured. I cried out for my wife and relatives," Wang said from the Kashgar hospital where he is being treated.
Locals told China Daily that they are angry at the attacks and cannot understand the motive behind them.
"I was really angry when I heard the news. You know the government has provided a lot of care and help to our citizens. I just don't understand why the attacks happened," said Bupatman Maimait, 59, from Kashgar's old district.
A manager of a restaurant on Food Street surnamed Li said that business had been good before the attack. "I'm still scared and don't know when can I restart my business.
"But terrorists are not strong enough to stop us living normal lives."
Wang said that people in Xinjiang have enjoyed favorable policies, financial support from other provinces and stability in recent years - all of which undermines separatists.
"So separatists have to terrorize the people to win support from overseas and to prolong their existence."
Xinjiang - with 41.5 percent of its population Uygurs, a large Muslim Chinese ethnic group - is China's frontline against terror.
The autonomous region borders eight central and western Asian countries, many of which have suffered terror attacks.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
(China Daily 08/02/2011 page1)
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