Xinjiang attackers nabbed

By Xuyang Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-1 0:43:01

For more, see Daily Special(s): Fight against riots in Xinjiang

Local police announced on Sunday that they had apprehended the last member of a terrorist group allegedly responsible for the violent attacks in Turpan, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region which left 35 people dead.

Authorities are on high alert and have vowed to crack down on terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks over the past few days, ahead of the fourth anniversary of the July 5 riot in Urumqi which killed 197 people in the chaos.

Police have identified the names of the suspects, including a man named Ahmatniyaz Sidiq, who together with 15 other people attacked a local government building and police station on Wednesday, killing 24 people, according to local government website Tianshan Net.

Police said Sadiq has been organizing religious extremist activities since February and listening to audio material that incites violent terrorist activities. Authorities also said that he formed a terrorist group with 17 members. Since mid June, the group has been raising money and buying tools such as knives and gasoline, and casing the area, Tianshan Net reported.

Police arrested a member of the group on June 25. At 5:50 am the next day, Sadiq and the rest of the group set fire to a local police station, a government building, a construction site and more than 10 government vehicles in Lukqun, Shanshan county, about 200 kilometers southeast of Urumqi.

The attackers killed 24 people, including 16 Uyghurs and two police officers, and injured 21 people. The police killed 11 rioters on site and captured four suspects. The last suspect at large was apprehended on Sunday, according to the report.

The recent attacks showed that the terrorist are becoming more aggressive, as they are targeting police stations and government buildings, Pan Zhiping, a research fellow with the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

He said that behind such terrorist activities are separatist forces who use religious extremism to brainwash people into carrying out such attacks.

Authorities have on many occasions warned against THE three forces: of terrorism, religious extremism and separatism, both domestic and abroad, that attempt to cause trouble in Xinjiang.

Two days after the attack in Turpan, a popular tourist site with few media reports of riots or terrorist attacks in the past, more than 100 people riding on motorcycles and wielding knives attacked a local police station in Moyu county, Hotan in southern Xinjiang. The number of casualties has not been released.

Also on Friday, some 200 people gathered at a major shopping area in the city in an attempt to stir up trouble. Local police brought the situation under control.

Authorities have quickly denounced the attacks as terrorist activities and beefed up security in these areas. In order to maintain stability the authorities have detained and fined 19 people for spreading rumors about "riots" in Xinjiang via mobile phones and the Internet, the Xinjiang Daily reported.

In response, top leaders vowed to crack down on such violent terrorist attacks after a meeting led by President Xi Jinping on Friday night.

On Saturday night at an anti-terrorism rally by armed police in Xinjiang, Meng Jianzhu, secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, urged 24-hour patrols to guarantee the safety of local residents, according to Xinhua.

Meng also asked armed police to take precautionary and preemptive measures to strike at terrorism.

The Central government also dispatched senior officials to Xinjiang, including Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

In a video conference with officials from across Xinjiang on Saturday night, Yu said that the country will impose severe punishments on those responsible for the crimes and crack down on terrorist groups and extremist organizations, according to Xinhua.

Back in May, a month after a terrorist attack in Kashi that left 21 dead, Zhang Chunxian, Party secretary of the region, wrote in an article for Qiushi, the Party's flagship magazine, that over the past three years the authorities have foiled more than 96 percent of planned separatist and terrorist attacks.

Lin Meilian contributed to this story

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