ISIS training Xinjiang militants: Chinese media

  • Sutirtho Patranobis (with inputs from Reuters), Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2014 02:34 IST

A day after a series of explosions rocked China's restive Xinjiang region, state media reported that "militants" from Xinjiang had fled from the country to get "training" from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) fighters for attacks at home.

The report was the first time state-run media had linked militants from Xinjiang, home to ethnic minority Uyghur Muslims, to ISIS militants.

Chinese government has blamed a surge of violence over the past year on Islamist militants from Xinjiang who China says are fighting for an independent state called East Turkestan.

"They not only want to get training in terrorist techniques, but also to expand their connections in international terrorist organisations through actual combat to gain support for escalation of terrorist activities in China," the Global Times cited an unidentified Chinese "anti-terrorism worker" as saying.

The Global Times, which is run by the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said militants from Xinjiang had recently been involved in ISIS activities in Syria and Iraq as well as with ISIS "branches" in Southeast Asia.

The newspaper said in the report on its website that four suspected militants from Xinjiang were arrested in Indonesia this month. Indonesian police said last week four foreigners were being questioned but did not identify them.

The Sunday blasts that claimed at least two lives were latest examples of continuing unrest in the Xinjiang region.

An unspecified number of people were injured in the blasts though the sketchy media reports did not say how many explosions were triggered in the incident.

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), home to the Muslim Uyghur community, has seen a spurt in violence, which authorities in Beijing have consistently blamed on separatists operating from outside the country.

Authorities have tightened security in the remote province, China's largest, and have also imposed restrictions in specific areas. Outsiders are not allowed to visit the places which have experienced violence, making independent verification of information tough.

Fears of domestic militants getting help abroad are likely to lend urgency to a nationwide "anti-terrorism" operation that President Xi Jinping's administration has launched following attacks that Beijing has blamed on Islamists and separatists from Xinjiang.

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