Death Toll from Urumqi Attack Rises

World Today

Paramilitary policemen with shields and batons patrol near the People’s Square in Urumqi, China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, Friday, May 23, 2014. A day after the attack in Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi, survivors told of their terror during the attack and said they no longer feel insulated from a long-simmering insurgency against Chinese rule, which has struck their city twice in recent weeks. While the perpetrators haven’t been named, Chinese authorities have blamed recent attacks on radical separatists from the country’s Muslim Uighur minority. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

URUMQI, China — Chinese authorities launched a yearlong anti-terrorism crackdown Saturday in China’s Muslim northwest after a bombing in the region killed at least 43 people, while also announcing the first arrest in the attack.

Police announced names of five people blamed for Thursday’s attack in a vegetable market in the city of Urumqi, and accused them of forming a “terrorist gang” at the end of 2013, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Four of the suspects were killed and the fifth was captured Thursday night in an area about 250 kilometers (150 miles) south of Urumqi, Xinhua said.

The group “took part in illegal religious activities, watched and listened to terrorist violence video and audio materials,” according to the news agency.

It said an anti-terrorism campaign with Xinjiang “as the major battlefield” started Friday. Authorities would target religious extremist groups, gun and “explosive manufacturing dens and terrorist training camps.”

“Terrorists and extremists will be hunted down and punished,” Xinhua said.

The terrorist attack in northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi has caused widespread revulsion of the people from all walks of life in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In China’s westernmost university – Normal College of Kashgar in Xinjiang, students expressed anger and hatred at the terrorist attack that killed 39 people as of Friday.

“What they did is outrageous and rather hideous, they killed innocent civilians, even women and children, so I think they are really inhuman” said a Uygur student named Dilrela Exmet.

“I think we’ve long been repelling them, and since they felt there was no living space for them, they wanted to gain influence and commit such inhuman crimes, therefore we need to unite more closely with each other and so long as we are united can we have a better time to develop Xinjiang and can we have a hope for the future of our country,” said a student named Mardan.

People of both Chinese Han and Uygur nationalities have been calling for severe punishment to the terrorists, and at the same time, they believe that an extent ethnic solidarity will help uproot terrorism.

Zhao Qin, a middle school teacher born in Kashar said the main purpose of the terrorists is to undermine the ethnic solidarity, “they are afraid of us if we are united, so we must get united so that they wont’s realize their attempt,” she said.

Hajimahsum Haji, Imam of Kashar’s largest Aitigar Mosque, said those terrorists are not qualified to be Muslim members, “What they did reveals their shameless feature, me and the whole Muslim community believe that their acts are totally wrong.” He added that anyone with a normal mind will not agree to such brutal behaviors.

Two vehicles, without license plates, broke through roadside fences and plowed into people at an open-air market in Urumqi on Thursday morning. Explosive devices were set off, killing at least 39 people and injuring 94 others.


URUMQI, May 23 (Xinhua) — Police have identified five suspects who took part in a terrorist attack on Thursday that killed 39 innocent people and injured another 94, local authorities said Friday night.

Four of the suspects died in the bomb attack and their DNA have been identified. Another one was caught by police on Thursday night in Bayingolin Mongolia Autonomous Prefecture.

The suspects, Nurahmat Ablipiz, Memet Memtimin, Raghimjan Memet, Memtimin Mahmat and Ablet Abdukadir, had long been influenced by the religious extremism. They took part in illegal religious activities, watched and listened to terrorist violence video and audio materials, according to the police.

They formed a five-member terrorist gang at the end of 2013.

In order to carry out terrorist activities, they bought materials for producing explosives as well as vehicles. They made explosive devices and chose the target for their attack.

At 7:50 a.m. on Thursday, four members of the gang including Memet Memtimin, carried out the attack.

It is the worst attack in five years in the far western region after riots on July 5, 2009 in the regional capital claimed 197 lives and injured more than 1,700.

Two vehicles, without license plates, broke through roadside fences and plowed into people at an open-air market in Gongyuanbei Street near Renmin Park at 7:50 a.m. and explosive devices were detonated, said a statement by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region’s publicity department.

Report compiled with information from CCTV, Xinhua and The Associated Press.