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SCMP: Al-Qaeda 'vows to avenge Uygurs'  

2009-07-14 07:29:13|  分类: 头条 Headlines |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Offshoot of terrorist group planning attacks on Chinese in Africa, security experts warn


Greg Torode, Chief Asia correspondent,
South China Morning Post
Jul 14, 2009
SCMP: Al-Qaeda vows to avenge Uygurs - Ivan Zhai (IPEC) - Republic of Blues Email to friend | Print a copy



Al-Qaeda has vowed to avenge the deaths of Muslims in Urumqi by targeting China's extensive workforce and projects across northwestern Africa, according to a private intelligence report obtained by the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) .

London-based risk analysis firm Stirling Assynt is telling clients that al-Qaeda's Algerian-based offshoot, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has issued a call for vengeance. The report is based on information from people who have seen the instruction.

It is the first time Osama bin Laden's terrorist network has directly threatened China or its interests - illustrating the international price China risks paying for its policies in Urumqi, analysts say.

"Although AQIM appear to be the first arm of al-Qaeda to officially state they will target Chinese interests, others are likely to follow," the Stirling assessment notes.

"The general situation (and perceived plight) of China's Muslims has resonated amongst the global jihadist community. There is an increasing amount of chatter ... among jihadists who claim they want to see action against China. Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China's interests in the Muslim world, which they could use for targeting purposes."

Stirling says al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen could also target Chinese projects to serve their goal of toppling Beijing-friendly President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese work in the Middle East and North Africa, including 50,000 in Algeria, Stirling estimates.

The firm provides business and country risk assessments for companies and international organisations. Its website says it was founded by Karl Barclay, former head of global security for HSBC (SEHK: 0005, announcements, news) .

The assessment comes amid rising fears among Western counter-terrorism officials that AQIM has turned a deadly new corner in recent weeks, with a string of fatal attacks on foreigners. Its numbers appeared to have been buoyed by the return of its fighters from Iraqi battlefields, US officials have said.

Three weeks ago AQIM attacked an Algerian security convoy protecting Chinese engineers on a motorway project, killing 24 paramilitary police. While the Chinese were not injured and were not targeted, the assessment notes: "Future attacks of this kind are likely to target security forces and Chinese engineers alike."

Protesting Indonesian Muslims, meanwhile, yesterday called for a jihad in support of China's Uygurs. Dozens of protesters clashed with guards outside the Chinese embassy in Jakarta, demanding Indonesian government action against Beijing.

The Stirling assessment does not make any link between Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang and al-Qaeda. It suggests it is unlikely that al-Qaeda's central leadership has decided to stage attacks within China.

But it is likely the al-Qaeda leadership would allow its North African and Arabian arms to attack Chinese engineers "to demonstrate that al-Qaeda cares about Muslims in China but precluding the need ... to commit to an open war with China", the assessment says.

……

Additional reporting by Shi Jiangtao

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