Farmers, police stage anti-terror drill in Xinjiang

Exercise in Toksun county comes after attacks have killed dozens of civilians in the region

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2014, 1:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2014, 4:15pm

Thousands of hoe-wielding farmers joined police to take in an anti-terror drill in Toksun county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Sunday, state media reported today.

In Yilahu village, a scenario was created in which the police station was attacked by “terrorists” and the police and local residents worked together to capture the assailants, reported.

In the drill, three terrorists fled to a jujube farm after facing fierce resistance from the police, who then enacted an anti-terror emergency plan to capture them. As the police swept the farm in search of the terrorists, local officials organised thousands of farmers to bring sticks, shovels, hoes, steel pipes and other makeshift weapons.

After a 30 minute search, the terrorists were caught.

The drill was conducted after the county last month launched an effort to encourage locals to discover, criticise and report on religious extremists and terrorists.

In June, the province’s anti-terror working group held a high-level drill, named “Tianshan-2014”, involving explosions, fires and hostages.

More than 100 civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks in China, most of them in Xinjiang, during the past year, according to media reports.

At the end of July, police shot dead 59 suspected terrorists and 37 civilians were killed in attacks in Kashgar prefecture in Xinjiang.

On March 1, 29 people were killed in an attack police blame on rampaging Uygur separatists from Xinjiang at the railway station in Kunming in Yunnan province. Four alleged assailants were also killed by police in the incident.

Xinjiang party chief Zhang Chunxian said in early August that the police would capture any attackers, People’s Daily reported.