BEIJING A senior ethnic Uighur security official was killed in a police raid on a “nest of terrorists”, Chinese state media reported, providing specifics on a previously unannounced operation in the violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang.
Hundreds of individuals have been killed in the previous couple of years in the region which is property to the mostly Muslim Uighur individuals in violence blamed by the government on Islamist militants seeking an independent state called East Turkestan.
The official People’s Everyday, in a report late on Saturday, named the dead official as Maimaitijiang Tuohuniyazi, a deputy head of public security in Aksu, a vast element of western Xinjiang that borders Kyrgyzstan.
It said domestic safety chief Meng Jianzhu, who is currently in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, supplied condolences to Tuohuniyazi’s widow, praising him as a brave and selfless man.
“In order to rescue a herder who had been kidnapped by terrorists, he threw himself into the breach, charged into the nest of terrorists and however heroically sacrificed himself,” the paper mentioned, with no giving other details.
At least 16 people, like five police officers, were killed in an attack at a colliery in Aksu in September. Chinese safety forces later said they had killed 28 “terrorists” involved in that attack.
The newspaper mentioned Meng took element in an award ceremony for these involved in tracking down the coal mine attackers.
Meng stated that more than the past year, security solutions had “clear successes” in cracking down on terrorism, and had succeeded in stopping “far more than 98 %” of terror plots in the organizing stage. He gave no specifics.
China’s battle against the violence in Xinjiang has been hampered by poor intelligence in a element of the country where few officials realize the Uighur language or Islam and the government has had difficulty recruiting Uighur operatives, diplomats and specialists say.
Meng has previously said the government required to boost its intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing amongst different departments it if wanted to better deal with the threat of terrorism, a rare admission of the problems it faces.
Rights groups and exiles say the violence in Xinjiang stems much more from widespread Uighur resentment at Chinese controls on their religion and culture rather than the action of a nicely-organized militant group.
China strongly denies abusing human rights in Xinjiang, and says it is facing a determined campaign from Islamist radicals and separatists.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Miral Fahmy)