A top communist Chinese official said Tuesday that extremists from Xinjiang region have been apprehended after returning from fighting in Syria with the ranks of the Takfiri group operating there, ISIL.
Zhang Chunxian, party head in Xinjiang, told reporters that the extremists were caught when a terror plot was recently uncovered, reported the Global Times, which is affiliated with the ruling party mouthpiece People’s Daily.
He said that they had returned to Xinjiang, the homeland of China’s Uighur ethnic minority, to participate in violent terror plots, the report said. He apparently gave no details, including the number of people apprehended.
Other Chinese media carried similar reports, but did not specifically mention Syria.
Xinjiang, in far western China, has seen a wave of unrest, labeled by authorities as “terrorism” and blamed on “separatists”, which has sometimes spread to other parts of the country.
Among the most shocking attacks was a deadly rampage by knife-wielding assailants at a train station at Kunming in China’s southwest in March, when 31 people were killed and four attackers died.
China has consistently warned that radical forces from outside the country have inspired terror attacks in the resource-rich, mainly Muslim region bordering Central Asia, as well as outside it.