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March 15, 2014

Uighur leader vows revenge on China

 
March 15, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Entrenched in secret mountain bases on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Uighur fighters are gearing up for retribution against China to avenge the deaths of comrades in Beijing´s crackdown on a separatist movement. A mass stabbing at a train station in the Chinese city of Kunming two weeks ago, in which at least 29 people were killed, has put a new spotlight on the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic minority from Xinjiang, where Beijing says armed groups seek to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.
In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese.“The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it,” he said from an undisclosed location.” China is not only our enemy, but also it is the enemy of all Muslims ... We have plans for many attacks in China,” he said, speaking in the Uighur language through an interpreter.
“We have a message to China that East Turkestan people and other Muslims have woken up. They cannot suppress us and Islam any more. Muslims will take revenge.” Mansour spoke on a crackly line using a mobile phone with an Afghan SIM card in a brief statement which gave Reuters no chance to ask about the Kunming attack.
The Turkestan Islamic Party, which China equates with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), keeps a low profile in Pakistan. Unlike the Taliban, it almost never posts videos promoting its activities or ideology.
Its exact size is unknown and some experts dispute its ability to orchestrate attacks in China, or that is exists at all as a cohesive group. Getting hold of leaders such as Mansour is almost impossible and interviews are usually very brief and conducted from undisclosed locations through a Pashto-speaking translator.
Pakistani intelligence sources say they number about 400 fighters, and are clustered around the remote Mir Ali area of North

Waziristan, sharing bases with other foreign insurgents, particularly Uzbeks, who speak a similar language.

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