China launches international hunt for Xinjiang train station attacker

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May 20, 2014

BEIJING: China on Monday said it had launched an international manhunt for the alleged mastermind behind an attack at a train station last month blamed on extremists from the Muslim Turkic Uighur ethnic group.

The official China Daily newspaper said a request had been submitted to Interpol for the arrest of Ismail Yusup and an unspecified number of associates.

May 20, 2014

BEIJING: China on Monday said it had launched an international manhunt for the alleged mastermind behind an attack at a train station last month blamed on extremists from the Muslim Turkic Uighur ethnic group.

The official China Daily newspaper said a request had been submitted to Interpol for the arrest of Ismail Yusup and an unspecified number of associates.

The report said that Yusup was a member of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and organized the April 30 attack in the capital of the northwestern Xinjiang region that killed three people and injured 79 others.

Beijing says an organized militancy with elements based overseas is behind a rising number of terrorist attacks in the country. However, little evidence has been provided to back up the claim and many analysts doubt such an organization exists in a form that would allow it to organize attacks.

China had previously said the attack, in which explosives and knives were used, was carried out by two religious extremists who were killed in the blast.

East Turkistan is the name used for Xinjiang by some members of the region's native Uighur ethnic group, extremists among which have been fighting for years a low-intensity insurgency against Chinese rule.

The US initially placed the East Turkistan Islamic Movement on a terrorist watch list following the September 11, 2001, attacks, but later quietly removed it amid doubts that it existed in any organized manner.

It is still listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, over which China has considerable sway as one of five permanent veto-holding members of the Security Council.

China Daily and other state media outlets said Yusup ordered 10 "partners" in Xinjiang to prepare for the attack in the city of Urumqi about a week before it happened. The 10 set off explosives and slashed people with knives at the station exit on the evening of April 30, Xinhua said.

Two of the members were killed in the explosion and the remaining eight were captured by police, it said.

Uighur extremists have been blamed for a rising tide of violence in Xinjiang and other parts of China, including the capital Beijing.

In another high-profile attack blamed on Xinjiang extremists, five knife-wielding men and women slashed at crowds indiscriminately at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming in March, killing 29 people.


Courtesy: AP