FM spokesman confirms death of wanted terrorist

Hasan Mahsum, China's most wanted "Eastern Turkistan" terrorist, was killed during an October joint anti-terrorism raid, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao confirmed Wednesday.

During the campaign launched at the boarder of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Hasan Mahsum, who was the ringleader of Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (RTIM), was killed by the Pakistani army on October 2, Liu said.

Hailing the death of Hasan Mahsum an achievement for international anti-terrorism co-operation, Liu said the Chinese Government would work with the international community to continue cracking down on terrorist organizations.

Hasan Mahsum tops the list of the first batch of identified "Eastern Turkistan'' terrorists issued by China's anti-terrorism authority in mid-December.

Born in 1964 in Kashgar Prefecture in Xinjiang, Hasan Mahsum, also known as Ashan Sumut or Adu Mohammad, had been arrested by Chinese police on a charge of performing acts of terror in October 1993. He was sentenced three years of re-education through labour, Liu said.

In 1997, the terrorist fled China and stayed in terrorist training camps in Afghanistan to coach other terrorists.

Hasan Mahsum was suspected of plotting a series of bloody terrorist attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, including cases of robbery and murder in the capital of Urumqi and a murder the in Hotan region, Liu noted. The terrorist caused heavy losses of life and property.

Besides the ETIM, there were three other "Eastern Turkistan'' terrorist groups identified by the Chinese Government last week: the East Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO), the World Uygur Youth Congress (WUYC) and, the East Turkistan Information Centre (ETIC).

All have stated they hope to split China, and have conducted terrorist activities in Xinjiang and other areas. Crimes have included bombings, murder, arson, poisonings and assaults.

The "Eastern Turkistan" groups are reported to have close connections with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaida network and Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime, officials said.

China has called for international support against the four terrorist groups through disbanding them, banning their activities and freezing their financial assets.

In another development, Afghanistan responded positively towards China's anti-terrorism call, according to a Xinhua report.

Afghanistan and China identified terrorism as a common concern and agreed that international co-operation is very important for regional security, said Afghan spokesman Omar Samad, briefing reporters at an meeting between Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and a Chinese delegation, headed by China's Vice-Foreign Minister Lu Xinhua.



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