Hundreds held in Xinjiang terror blitz

Updated: 2014-06-24 07:08

By Gao Bo in Urumqi and Cui Jia in Beijing (China Daily USA)

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32 groups busted, 264 explosive devices seized as drive takes hold

Police in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have destroyed an average of one terrorist cell a day in the past month, an official from the regional public security department said on Monday.

Thirty-two groups have been busted and more than 380 suspects arrested since May 23 when a one-year anti-terrorism campaign began in Xinjiang.

A total of 264 explosive devices and 3.15 metric tons of materials for making explosives were seized.

The official said the crackdown had led to terrorists reaching the breaking point.

Wang Qianrong, deputy director of the Xinjiang Public Security Department, also said the most recent attack, on a police bureau in Yecheng, a county in southern Xinjiang's Kashgar prefecture on Saturday, was a desperate move by the terrorists, who were under "high pressure" from the government.

"This case is still being investigated," he said at a news conference in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Thirteen attackers were shot dead as they targeted the public security bureau with explosives. Three policemen were slightly injured but no civilians were hurt, the regional government's information office said earlier.

But six officers died while combating terrorism or from overwork in the past month.

Wang said terrorist activities have become increasingly difficult to detect, which makes support from the public extremely important.

Eleven terrorist groups were busted and more than 80 people arrested following about 400 tip-offs from local people. Police kept the sources strictly confidential and rewarded informers who gave them valuable clues, Wang added.

On June 10, three people with a large amount of materials related to terrorism were arrested after police received tip-offs from a religious leader from Aksu prefecture.

Wang said most of such information was passed on via the Internet or mobile devices. The majority of the terrorists were influenced by religious extremism.

On June 7, police in Kashgar found two people with videos stored on their mobile phones showing how to make explosives.

They also discovered a cell whose members had been watching videos of terrorism and violence and who were plotting attacks with explosive devices. Three other people were arrested and a large quantity of materials used to make explosives seized.

Police have adopted strict measures to control the markets for audio-video products and secondhand cellphones. The measures have been effective, with officers confiscating more than 100 computers as well as 387 discs and storage devices, Wang said.

Akbar Aklam, vice-president of the regional high people's court, said that 315 people involved in 120 cases had been tried for crimes including terrorism, making explosives, broadcasting terror-related video and audio products and organizing cross-border trafficking since May 23.

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(China Daily USA 06/24/2014 page1)