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People power defeating terror

2014-06-15 08:37 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Wang Yuxia

Tip-offs from the public have led to the arrest of more than 60 terrorists and religious extremists in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since police launched an anti-terrorism campaign on May 23.

So far, police have busted nine terrorist gangs and one religious extremist group on the strength of more than 300 pieces of information provided by local people. They also seized nearly 160 explosive devices, 40 kilograms of explosive materials and multimedia cards with content related to jihad, or "holy war."

The residents of Hotan Prefecture's Pishan County were described as a new force in combating violence. "Their support has greatly encouraged the police," said Lu En, an official from the regional anti-terrorism office.

In one recent case, local residents set up barricades on main roads in every village and checked people and vehicles passing by, Xinjiang's news portal www.ts.cn reported.

During such checks, villagers encountered three suspects carrying explosive devices.

"I saw his clothes were bulging and I suspected that he might carry explosive devices. He said we were all Uygurs and Muslims and told me not to betray him. He told us to do what they were doing. Therefore, I was sure they were terrorists," one villager said.

When he tried to stop them, "one of them rushed at me with a knife in his hand. I was hit by a stone on the head. I felt dizzy but I still stood up to fight with them. I got their knife and lighters," he added.

He and other villagers finally restrained the three and confiscated 12 explosive devices.

People in other areas in Xinjiang were also praised for their help in the current campaign.

A villager in Bachu County near Kashgar saw five people, with folding sickles, sleeping in a ditch on May 25.

When police were called to question them, they shouted jihadist slogans and attacked the officers. Three of the group were shot, the website reported.

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