China Gives Cash Rewards After Xinjiang Militants Traced

K J M Verma/Beijing
China Gives Cash Rewards After Xinjiang Militants Traced

China today granted hefty cash rewards to people who helped trace a group of 10 suspected militants in the troubled Xinjiang province where 37 civilians and 59 "terrorists" were killed early this week in one of the biggest terror attacks in the region.

Six people who offered key tip-offs leading to the location of the suspected terrorists were given 100,000 yuan each (USD 16.6 million).

Individuals and government agencies received cash rewards, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 10,000 officials and local residents attended the award ceremony held in Hotan Prefecture today, it said.

The terrorist group was identified by police on July 27.

Local civilians volunteered to help the police in tracking down the suspects.

Locals found the suspects in a corn field in Purgakqi Township of Karakax County and reported to police.

With the help of more than 30,000 volunteers, officers chased the suspects to an abandoned house, where they resisted arrest by throwing explosives into the crowd.

Police fired back and shot dead nine suspects and captured one, the report said.

Early today Xinhua reported that 96 people including 59 militants and 37 civilians were killed in last Monday's attack on July 27 at Shache County, Kashgar Prefecture in Xinjiang, Xinhua reported providing details for the first time.

Police gunned down 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others, it quoted the regional government as saying providing the details of the incident for the first time.

The dead included 35 Hans and two Uygurs, officials said.

Out of the 31 vehicles smashed in the violent attack, 6 were burnt.

Investigations showed that it was an attack jointly "organised and premeditated" by terrorists both in and outside China, the government said.

This is the first time that China blamed terrorists from outside for an attack.

Police confiscated long knives, axes as well as the terrorists' banners that hailed "holy war".

The attack regarded as one of the worst in recent times, happened when a gang armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku Township early on Monday morning.

The mastermind behind the attack was identified as Nuramat Sawut from Elixku Township, who had close connections with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the al-Qaeda backed militant outfit which has become very active in Xinjiang in recent years.

Xinjiang, the home of native Muslim Uygurs has been in turmoil for years over Uygur resentment about the increasing settlements of ethnic Hans from other parts of China.

China alleges that the ETIM, which reportedly has bases in Pakistan's tribal areas and Afghanistan, is taking advantage of the underlying social tensions and carrying out violent attacks in Xinjiang and the rest of the country.

Kashgar town, bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan, faced the brunt of the violence for the past few days.

On Friday, police shot dead nine suspected terrorists and captured another in Hotan Prefecture, two days after extremists murdered the imam of China's largest mosque, Jume Tahir, in Xinjiang.

Tahir was stated to be a pro-government cleric.

Shache also witnessed another terror attack on December 30, last year when nine knife-wielding terrorists attacked a police station. Police shot dead eight terrorists.

On May 22, an attack on a market in Urumqi, the regional capital, left 31 dead and 94 injured.

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