Forces used flamethrower to hunt Xinjiang "terrorists"

After that, the newspaper said the attackers came out at the troops wielding knives and that they were then "completely annihilated".

China forces used flamethrower to hunt Xinjiang "terrorists"

Chinese forces used a flamethrower to force more than 10 "terrorists" from a cave in the western Xinjiang region, the military's top newspaper said on Monday, in a graphic account of the hunt for what Beijing called foreign-led extremists.

China said on Friday that security forces had recently killed 28 members of a group that carried out a deadly attack at a coal mine in Aksu in September, the first official mention of the incident reported by Radio Free Asia about two months ago.

In its account, which could not be independently verified, the official People's Liberation Army Daily said armed police had tracked the attackers into the mountains "like eagles discovering their prey".

The PLA Daily said the special forces used flash grenades and tear gas to force the attackers out of hiding, but when those methods failed, a senior officer said: "Use the flamethrower".

China's government says it faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists in energy-rich Xinjiang, on the border of central Asia, where hundreds have died in violence in recent years.

Rights groups say China has never presented convincing evidence of the existence of a cohesive militant group fighting the government. Much of the unrest, they argue, is due to frustration at controls on the culture and religion of the Muslim Uighur people who live in Xinjiang.

Beijing vehemently denies accusations of rights abuses, though independent verification of the situation in Xinjiang is hard because of tight government controls on visits by foreign reporters.

In a statement in response to the PLA Daily report, Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for exile group the World Uyghur Congress, said: "The Paris attacks gave China a political excuse to brazenly use flamethrowers to clamp down on unarmed Uighurs who have no just legal protection and who seek to avoid arrest."

Senior Chinese officials have increasingly described the security challenges in Xinjiang as an important front in the global fight against terrorism. Western nations, however, have been reluctant to cooperate in China's anti-terrorism campaign there, nervous about being implicated in possible rights abuses.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Osun APC youth protest alleged hijacking of forms ahead of ward congress

Gov Okowa charges commissioners to work for united Delta

Abba Kyari's extradition to U.S. not automatic – Kayode Ajulo

FRSC to investigate stray cow on Third Mainland bridge

FG not aware of $875m ammunition deal with US – Lai Mohammed

Nigerians in Diaspora rally support for Buhari, commend Military

Blue Bus Frontliners: The prosecution team seeking to arrest trafficking in persons for good

EFCC has recovered N5.4bn from trapped N12bn for NHIS - Secretary

2nd Niger Bridge will be completed in 2022, NSIA expresses optimism