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18 suspects in Xinjiang terror attack surrender
Publication Date : 11-08-2014
Eighteen people suspected of taking part in last month's terrorist attack in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have turned themselves in to police.
The attack on July 28 in Shache county, Kashgar prefecture, left 37 civilians dead and another 13 injured. Police shot dead 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others.
On August 1, the Shache government urged suspects who escaped to surrender in exchange for lighter sentences. In addition, members of the public were asked to provide information about the terrorists.
By 6 pm on Saturday, 18 people had turned themselves in, Xinjiang Daily reported. Most said they had been incited or forced to join the terrorist group by existing members, according to Abudulkeyoum Abdulkadear, head of the legal affairs brigade at the Shache public security bureau.
Suspect Yusoup Aili said he was attending morning prayers at a local mosque on July 28 when a group of people ran inside and called on worshippers to join their "holy war".
He ran back to his house to fetch an ax and followed the mobs that attacked people and destroyed property.
Yusoup said he did not think about what he was doing at the time but now understands the tragic consequences of his actions.
"During the past few days I kept thinking about how the victims must have suffered when they were attacked and the sadness their families have to bear," he said.
"I decided to go to the police because I couldn't live with the guilt anymore."
Another suspect, Ausman Seyit, said the terrorists forced him to take part but he now realised he should have run away instead of attacking civilians. He hid in cornfields and the Gobi desert after fleeing the crime scene.
"Fear of being caught by the police is what drove me to surrender," said Ausman. "But my biggest fear is how I tell my mother what I have done."
Nuramet Sawut was the head of the terrorist group behind the attack, police said. He was formerly an imam at a village mosque, but in 2008 villagers forced him to step down after accusing him of being disrespectful toward them.
Nuramet, who had close connections with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement terrorist organisation, was shot dead by police, Xinjiang Daily reported. His three brothers also took part in the attack.
Nuramet started promoting separatism and religious extremism through audio and video materials last year and went on to establish the group and became its leader, local police said.
The group held meetings in remote areas, during which they planned the attack and gathered weapons.
On the day of the attack, group members armed with knives and axes struck at a police station and government offices in Elixku township before moving on to nearby Huangdi township. They attacked civilians and smashed vehicles as they went.
The mobs set up roadblocks on the Bachu-Shache road, stopping vehicles and slashing passengers indiscriminately and forcing some to join them in the attack, according to police.
A 3-year-old girl became an orphan when her parents were killed by Nuramet's group.
The family's car was stopped by the mobs, and the little girl survived only because her mother hid her in the trunk. She was later rescued by another driver, Roz Tohut.
"The girl cried when I took her out of the trunk and said she was so scared because masked men beat her mother," said Roz.