Blaming the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for the recent suicide attack at a railway station in troubled Xinjiang province, Chinese investigators on Sunday said that the assault was planned abroad, even as an article in the state media pointed fingers at Pakistan.
The ETIM, stated to be an al-Qaeda backed militant group, was behind the attack in which three people were killed and 79 others were injured at a train station in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang province last month, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the region’s information department, the attack was planned by ETIM member Ismail Yusup outside China.
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“On April 22, he ordered 10 partners in Xinjiang to prepare to strike,” it said.
Xinhua story did not name any particular country, but an article in the state-run Global Times’ online edition said that the group directed attacks from Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Operating from North Waziristan from tribal Pakistan, the Turkestan Islamic Party, an al-Qaeda-associated group, directs and instigates attacks in Xinjiang and beyond, the article written by Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore, said.
Chinese officials in the past blamed training camps in Pakistan for the attacks in Xinjiang but avoid criticism in public due to close ties enjoyed by the two countries.
They say that Pakistan is cooperating in dealing with militants groups in Xinjiang. It is rare to see an article in the official Chinese media pointing fingers at Pakistan.
The Xinhua report said ten militants set off explosives and slashed people with knives at the exit of the South Railway Station of Urumqi on April 30.
Two members of the group — Saderdin Sawut and Memetabudula Ete — were killed by the explosion, and the eight others were caught by police.
ETIM is reportedly spreading its wings in Xinjiang where native Muslim Uighur population was restive over the increasing settlements of Han Chinese community from outside the province.
Scores died in numerous knife attacks carried by suspected ETIM militants in recent months.
China has deployed armed police patrols all over the country as the group started staging attacks in crowded railway stations outside Xinjiang.