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Four Uygur militants charged in Kunming knife attack case

The Foreign Ministry said that ETIM has claimed responsibility for the attack in a video posted on the net.

Beijing |
March 29, 2014 9:17:24 pm
The four militants charged were later arrested after the attack. (Reuters) The four militants charged were later arrested after the attack. (Reuters)

Four Uygur militants, including a woman, were on Saturday charged in connection with the brutal knife attack at a railway station in China’s Kunming city that left 33 people dead.

The four suspects in the Kunming knife attack case were charged with crimes of organising, leading, taking part in a terrorist attack and intentional homicide, the Yunnan provincial procuratorate announced.

A group of six men and two women stated to be members of East Turkistan Islamic Militant Movement (ETIM) carried out the attack at the crowded railway station on the night of March 1, randomly slashing at people in a frenzy.

The attack went on for over 20 minutes. Four militants were later shot dead by anti-terrorist squads which rushed to the station . Twenty nine civilians were killed and 143 others injured in the incident.

The four militants charged today were arrested after the attack.

According to an official report, an injured woman militant was taken into custody at the railway station. Three others who fled were arrested on March 3 but no details of their identities were made public.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry blamed the attack on ETIM which is fighting for the independence of Xinjiang where native Muslim Uygurs were protesting increasing settlements of Hans from other parts of China in the resource rich province bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and Afghanistan besides several Central Asian states.

Chinese officials said that evidence such as insignia and flags about “East Turkestan” were found at the scene of the attack, which was the first major terrorist strike outside Xinjiang.

The Foreign Ministry also said that ETIM has claimed responsibility for the attack in a video posted on the net.

Though active in Xinjiang, ETIM, stated to be a wing of al-Qaeda remained an opaque organisation with few details about its leadership and organisational structure known.

Three alleged militants, including two women from Xinjiang and a civilian were killed and several injured when a similar attack was attempted at the iconic Forbidden City here last year.

After the Kunming attack, China stepped up security all over the country deploying armed police to respond to emergency calls.

Several copy cat attacks stated to be carried out my disgruntled or mentally deranged people in several parts of China took place this month with several people killed and injured.

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