Kyrgyzstan kills 11 Uighur militants near China

2014-01-24 15:05
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bishkek - Eleven people believed to be members of a militant group of ethnic Uighurs have been killed in Kyrgyzstan after illegally crossing into the former Soviet republic from China, Kyrgyz border guards said on Friday.

Kyrgyzstan, a mainly Muslim nation of 5.5 million which lies on a drug trafficking route out of Afghanistan, remains volatile after popular uprisings that have deposed two presidents since 2005 and after violent ethnic clashes in its south in 2010.

But its remote, ragged border with China's restive Xinjiang province, home to the ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking mainly Muslim people has been calm.

"According to their appearance, [those killed] were Uighurs, while things found on them showed that they belonged to an organisation of Uighur separatists"’ Raimberdi Duishenbiyev, acting head of Kyrgyz border guards, told a news conference.

After crossing the border in a mountainous area of northeast Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, the group ran into a local hunter who killed two of them before himself being killed, he added.

'Militant Islamists'

The attackers seized the hunter's gun but were later blocked by border guards from a nearby frontier post. A unit of special-task forces flown to the area by helicopter killed the remaining nine men after they refused to surrender.

The hunter's gun appeared to be the only firearm held by the group, who lightly wounded a border guard and shouted back in Uighur during the skirmish.

"Allah is greatest!" they chanted before dying, Duishenbiyev said. The guards found a Koran, black masks, knives and topographic maps printed in Chinese at the scene.

Kyrgyz border guards informed their Chinese counterparts about the incident but the Chinese said they had detected no cases of illegal crossing of the border, Duishenbiyev said.

"One of our versions is that this was an attempt to seize weapons from local herders and hunters and commit acts of terror here and then return to their native country", said Gulmira Borubayeva, spokesperson for the border guards.

Kyrgyzstan, together with its Central Asian neighbours Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, is a member of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation led by China and Russia, which sees militant Islamists as a major threat to regional security.

Rights groups say China has intensified a sweeping security crackdown in Xinjiang, repressing Uighur culture, religious tradition and language. Beijing firmly rejects such criticism, saying it offers the Uighurs wide-ranging freedoms.

Experts say China's repression of religious practices has pushed some Uighurs to embrace Islamic traditions more strongly.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    kyrgyzstan  |  russia  |  china

Beirut protest turns violent

2015-10-08 22:24 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.