World Bulletin / News Desk
Eleven Uyghurs have been killed in Kyrgyzstan after illegally crossing into the former Soviet republic from China, Kyrgyz border guards said on Friday.
"According to their appearance, (those killed) were Uyghurs, while things found on them showed that they belonged to an organisation of Uighur separatists," Raimberdi Duishenbiyev, acting head of Kyrgyz border guards, told a news conference.
After crossing the border in a mountainous area of northeast Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, the group ran into a local hunter who killed two of them before himself being killed, he added.
The attackers seized the hunter's gun but were later blocked by border guards from a nearby frontier post. A unit of special-task forces flown to the area by helicopter killed the remaining nine men after they refused to surrender.
The hunter's gun appeared to be the only firearm held by the group, who lightly wounded a border guard and shouted back in Uighur during the skirmish.
"Allah is greatest!" they chanted before dying, Duishenbiyev said. The guards found a Koran, black masks, knives and topographic maps printed in China at the scene.
Kyrgyz border guards informed their Chinese counterparts about the incident but the Chinese said they had detected no cases of illegal crossing of the border, Duishenbiyev said.
"One of our versions is that this was an attempt to seize weapons from local herders and hunters and commit acts of terror here and then return to their native country," said Gulmira Borubayeva, spokeswoman for the border guards.
Kyrgyzstan, together with its Central Asian neighbours Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation led by China and Russia.
China has intensified a sweeping security crackdown in East Turkistan, repressing Uyghur culture, religious tradition and language.Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2014, 14:26