Uighur Group Claims China Bus Attacks, Threatens Olympics (UPDATED)
A Uighur separatist group has taken credit for a deadly bus bombing in Shanghai in May and warned of new attacks in China during the Olympics, a group monitoring terror threats on the Internet said.
In a video statement, Commander Seyfullah of the Turkestan Islamic Party claimed credit for several attacks, including the May 5 Shanghai bus bombing which killed three; another Shanghai attack; an attack on police in Wenzhou on July 17 using an explosive-laden tractor; a bombing of a Guangzhou plastic factory on July 17; and bombings of three buses in Yunnan province on July 21.
“Through this blessed jihad in Yunnan this time, the Turkestan Islamic Party warns China one more time,” Seyfullah says in the video dated July 23, according to a transcript from the Washington-based Intel Center.
Read also Group threatens Olympics attack, claims bombed buses from Reuters.
From Reuters, via the Guardian: China denies group’s claim of role in bombings:
Chinese authorities denied claims by a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party that it was responsible for deadly bus explosions in Shanghai and Yunnan province ahead of the Olympic Games, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
The group released a video threatening the Beijing Olympic Games and claiming responsibility for deadly bus explosions in Shanghai and in Yunnan’s Kunming, a terrorism monitoring firm in Washington said on Friday.
But Xinhua reported that a police investigation of the Shanghai blast on May 5 had nothing to do with “terrorist attacks”.
The blast, which killed three people and wounded 12, was caused by inflammables such as oil, Cheng Jiulong, Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau deputy head, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
“The blast was indeed deliberate but had nothing to do with terrorist attacks,” he said.
Five days after a pair of fatal bus explosions, police in Kunming, a city in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, are struggling to find clues about the mysterious blasts.
… In a related development, police in Yangzhou, a scenic city in the eastern Jiangsu Province, on Thursday detained a man surnamed Wang. He was under suspicion of concocting and deliberately causing panic among the society by using the bus explosions in Kunming to spreading fake information.
The 23-year-old, a native of Jingshan in the central Hubei Province, had migrated to Yangzhou. He stayed with his parents peddling vegetables in the city upon completion of his senior high school education, according to Yangzhou City Security Bureau.
Shortly after the blasts in Kunming on Monday, Wang read about it and then posted a line under the name of “hostile forces” on an unidentified website. He claimed to be responsible for the two explosions and threatened to carry out more in future.
Wang confessed during a police interrogation that he made the acts with the purposes of getting more, stronger attention and worship from netizens.
From The New York Times: Bus Blasts Not Linked to Olympics, China Says:
On Tuesday, the authorities in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, offered a reward of 100,000 yuan, about $14,660, for information leading to arrests in the case. Meanwhile, a leading Chinese newspaper, the Southern Metropolis Daily, reported that some residents of Kunming received a cryptic text message on the same morning as the explosions.
“Listen up, ants,” the message started, according to the newspaper. “If you receive this message, please don’t take bus route 54, 64 or 84.”
However, the Kunming vice mayor, Du Min, later discounted the report. “There was no such message,” Mr. Du said, according to Xinhua, the official state news agency.
In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, condemned the attacks but discounted any connection to next month’s Olympics in Beijing. “There has been no evidence so far to show that the incident is related to the upcoming Beijing Olympics,” Mr. Liu said at a regular news briefing.
From the Globe and Mail: Deadly bus bombings leave China on edge:
In other recent incidents, mobs of protesters attacked police stations in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces.
Since the Guizhou riots, Beijing has ordered officials to pay close attention to local disputes and to resolve them before they become violent.
Authorities have arrested dozens of Muslim Uyghurs, in the province of Xinjiang in western China, on allegations that they were plotting attacks on the Olympics. They were accused of belonging to separatist organizations. But while Uyghur militants were accused of a series of bombings in Xinjiang in the 1990s, there have been no confirmed bombings by Uyghur groups in recent years. China keeps a tight grip on the Muslim region, and its control has tightened as the Olympics approach.
The explosions in Kunming triggered an outpouring of anxious commentary on the Chinese-language Internet. “Why did it happen in Kunming?” asked one person on a popular Web forum. “Does this mean it could happen anywhere in China? I’m really scared.”
Another person wrote: “The possibility of getting attacked by terrorists is getting bigger. Social stability is facing a really grim situation, which has affected people’s daily lives. We hope the government and the police can put enough emphasis on public security. So far it’s not strong enough.”