Xinjiang suspect says terror attack was planned

Updated: 2013-07-08 01:56

By CUI JIA in Urumqi (China Daily)

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The terrorist attack in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on June 26, which resulted in 35 deaths, was carefully planned and did not target any particular ethnic group, according to statements made by a captured suspected terrorist.

"We were assigned different tasks in the attack. Mine was to attack the police station from the front entrance," Wulayin Ali said during an interview for China Central Television that aired on Saturday evening. He is accused of being among 16 men who launched the attack in Lukqun township, Turpan prefecture. The attack started with an assault on a police station at around 5:50 am.

The group killed 24 people, including two police officers, two assistant officers and two women. Sixteen of the dead were ethnic Uygurs.

The 31-year-old Wulayin was the only terrorist to escape the scene of the attack, but was arrested four days later, police said. He is now being treated for a minor head wound sustained from a bullet fired by police officers. He was armed with a long knife, which he said was given to him by the group's leader.

Eleven other attackers were shot dead at the scene and four others were arrested after being injured.

"We took an oath and gave each other hugs to say goodbye before the attack. We didn't plan on who we would target. It could be police officers, Uygurs, Han Chinese and women," he said in the interview.

Together with another member of the group, Wulayin is alleged to have killed Memetjon Nimar, 43, who owned the Unity Hotel, opposite the police station, and another passer-by.

"We attacked them because they saw what we did," he said.

He added that he believed that by carrying out the attack, he would go to heaven, where he could drink alcohol freely and would be surrounded by angels.

Police said initial investigations show that the group, headed by Ahmatniyaz Sidiq and Eli Ahmatniyaz, both from Lukqun, had been gathering and watching terrorist video footage and listening to audio programs from the extremist East Turkistan Islamic Movement. The materials promoted so-called jihad principles, and after studying them, the two men expanded their group into a 17-member gang, with the aim of conducting illegal activities, police said.

Before the attack, two members of the group from Kuqa county in southern Xinjiang mobilized the gang to carry out a jihad operation. As they felt it would be too difficult to conduct an operation abroad, they decided instead to stage their violent attacks locally, police said.

On June 20, Eli and some other members said that they wanted to "start a jihad and do something big". They identified the town's police station and special patrol squadron as their initial targets, followed by local government buildings and residents, said local police.

The group raised funds and purchased 26 long knives, 21 daggers and 310 liters of gasoline, from which they made 28 petrol bombs.

They then conducted scouting missions around the township government building, the police station and other nearby locations.

One member of the gang was arrested the day before the attack after police followed a lead on his suspicious behavior.

Ahmatniyaz feared that the arrest might compromise the gang and decided to carry out the attack with rest of the group the next day.

Xinhua contributed to this story.