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China blames unrest on Muslim 'terrorists'

URUMQI, China - Agence France-Presse | 8/1/2011 12:00:00 AM |

China on Monday blamed Muslim separatist “terrorists” trained in neighboring Pakistan for an outbreak of deadly violence and imposed heavy security in a bid to prevent further unrest.

China on Monday blamed Muslim separatist “terrorists” trained in neighboring Pakistan for an outbreak of deadly violence and imposed heavy security in a bid to prevent further unrest.

“The heads of the group had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang,” the online statement said. Nineteen people were killed in two separate incidents in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar over the weekend in the latest wave of violence to hit the restive Xinjiang region, home to a mainly Muslim Uighur minority. The Kashgar local government said in a statement on its website the assailants behind one attack that left six dead had learned explosive-making skills in terrorist-run camps in Pakistan.

The attackers adhered to

“extremist religious ideology” and advocated “jihad,” the statement also said. Chinese authorities

have accused the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Uighurs, of orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions.

 The U.S. and the U.N. have listed the ETIM as a “terrorist” organization, and China has previously said it has operations in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Many of Xinjiang’s eight million Turkic-speaking Uighurs are unhappy with what they say has been decades of political and religious repression, and the unwanted immigration of China’s dominant Han ethnic group.

Meanwhile, residents of Kashgar reported that the streets had reopened after a lockdown on Sunday, but remained quiet with a heavy police presence. “The street is open, but there are not many people. Last night, just after the attack, shops were all closed,” one shop owner who asked not to be named told AFP by phone.

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