Pain lingers after Xinjiang terrorist attack

Updated: 2013-07-05 08:30

By Cui Jia (China Daily)

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Li and a number of other off-duty officers opened fire, causing the attackers to flee the building. Li said it was the first time he had shot anyone in the course of his 16-year police career.

Pain lingers after Xinjiang terrorist attack

Abudurehman Wusman, second left, reopens his fruit stall in Lukqun town, Shanshan county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, after the June 26 attack. Zhen Shixin / for China Daily

He jumped for his life when the attackers set fire to the building and torched a number of police cars. Li said he witnessed one of the attackers decapitate a police officer and throw the head into the flames: "What's the point of me being alive after one of my officers died in such a horrible way? I want to fight these terrorists to my very last breath."

As the fire raged, the gang used three-wheeled motorcycles to drive to their next target, the township's government building, about 1 kilometer away on the same street.

"People were giving orders at the scene," said Li, who jumped onto a fire engine that had arrived at the station and began to pursue the men.

"I shot one of them in the leg on the way, but he still tried to attack me. They shouted extreme religious slogans before they died," he said.

Memetjon Nimar, 43, who owned the Unity hotel opposite the police station, was killed as he attempted to help the injured. He pleaded with the gang to stop, according to his brother, Ahmet.

"My brother tried to pull a man, who had blood streaming down his face, into the hotel, but was stopped by the attackers. He urged them to stop, but he was killed right in front of my eyes," said Ahmet, tears filling his eyes. "They wouldn't listen to my brother or anyone else. They've been brainwashed."

Adalathan Yiminiaz, 34, Memetjon's widow, is now faced with the prospect of raising four children on her own. Her stepson, who is in his 20s, was also wounded as he tried to help his father.

"I can't describe how much I hate them (the attackers). My family is destroyed and I cannot see any future," cried Adalathan Yiminiaz, holding her 3-year-old son.

After attacking the government building, the group continued its killing spree at a construction site for apartment blocks. The site's 61-year-old gatekeeper and his wife were killed at around 6:20 am, according to Qin Dayong, an onsite technician. Bloodstains on the ground clearly mark the spots where the elderly couple died.

Qin is one of just four workers to have stayed in Lukqun in the wake of the attacks, which claimed the lives of six of the 90-strong workforce, most of whom hail from Sichuan province. Some have gone home for good because they have been severely traumatized by the attack. "No one expected it and we didn't know how to protect ourselves," said Qin.

"In future, I will provide training for the workers and employ professional security guards. We all need to stand up to these terrorists. Fighting them benefits everyone," he added.

Qin said he was deeply appreciative of the help given by local people in the aftermath of the incident. "After I sent three people to the hospital, two Uygur strangers gave me a ride back home and comforted me along the way. A Uygur friend offered to keep me company and help me through the toughest time. Terrorists should not be defined by ethnicity, they are just terrorists."

Police chief Li said order had been restored within an hour of the attack starting. He asked residents to help local police guard the entrance to the scene of the bloodshed before a backup force arrived to preserve the site and round up any fugitives. "They (the locals) used their three-wheelers to make a roadblock. Without their help the evidence would not have been so well protected."