Chinese police use a FLAMETHROWER on ‘Muslim terror suspects’ after grenades and tear gas fail to lure them from cave
- Forces say they initially used grenades and tear gas to target attackers
- Beijing says it is hunting ‘foreign-led extremists’ in Xinjiang
- Rights groups say unrest due to controls on Muslim Uighurs
Chinese forces used a flamethrower to force more than 10 ‘terrorists’ from a cave in the western Xinjiang region in the hunt for what Beijing has called foreign-led extremists.
China said security forces had recently killed 28 members of a group that carried out a deadly attack at a coal mine in Aksu in September.
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’.
After that, the newspaper said the attackers came out at the troops wielding knives and that they were then ‘completely annihilated’.
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, spokesman for exile group the World Uighur Congress Dilxat Raxit said: ‘The Paris attacks gave China a political excuse to brazenly
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