Who blew up the bus in Kunming?

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Saturday, July 26, 2008

The question we all want to know - who blew up the buses in Kunming?
Was it Tibetans? Was it Muslims? Was it rubber workers who had been rioting?

Chinese media have gone silent on the question. But Western media are running this story:

Group threatens Olympics terror, claims bus bombings
Reuters | Saturday, 26 July 2008

A group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party released a video threatening the Beijing Olympic Games and claiming responsibility for recent deadly explosions on two Chinese buses, a terrorism monitoring firm said.

IntelCenter, a US-based terrorism monitoring firm, said the group had released a video entitled "Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan," featuring a statement by the group's leader, Commander Seyfullah, threatening next month's Olympics.

"Despite the Turkistan Islamic Party's repeated warnings to China and international community about stopping the 29th Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese have haughtily ignored our warnings," IntelCenter quoted Seyfullah as saying.

"The Turkistan Islamic Party volunteers who had gone through special preparations have started urgent actions."

Seyfullah said the group bombed two public buses in Shanghai on May 5 and "took action against police" in Wenzhou on July 17 with a tractor loaded with explosives.

The group also bombed a plastic factory in Guangzhou on July 17 and bombed three public buses in Yunnan on July 21, according to IntelCenter.

The bus explosions killed at least two people and injured 14 in the southwestern city of Kunming on Monday amid a security clampdown ahead of the Olympics.

The official Xinhua news agency had blamed the blasts on "sabotage" and was seeking to find out who was responsible.

"The Turkistan Islamic Party warns China one more time," Seyfullah said, according to the IntelCenter transcript.

"Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed."

He urged spectators and athletes "particularly the Muslims" planning to attend the Olympics to change their mind.

"Please do not stand together with the faithless people," he said. "The Turkistan Islamic Party volunteers will conduct violent military actions against individuals, departments, venues and activities that are related to the Olympics in China."

And this from Shanghai Daily:

Manhunt in bus bombs case

By Li Xinran | 2008-7-24 | ONLINE EDITION
















POLICE in Kunming City have launched a manhunt for a suspect in the bus bomb blasts case.

They are looking for a man wearing a white coat and jeans.

Detectives are going through close circuit TV tapes from cameras at police stations near the two bus stops where the blasts occurred.

The suspect was reported carrying a tea company's carrier bag and could have been seen near the bus route between 6am and 8am on Monday.

As the suspect had been seen with the distinctive carrier bag, police officers have been questioning passers-by and showing them photographs of similar carrier bags.

The local media have been asked to provide police any photographs or videos shot near the scene.

Police officers have been searching Kunming's residential areas, entertainment venues and shopping malls since Tuesday.

Every resident near Minshan and Tanhuasi has been ordered to register with the police.

Last night police scoured Kunming's Mudongcun area where thousands of migrants live.

Plainclothes and uniformed officer have been patrolling Kunming's bus lines and the streets near the blasts.

The reward for any information leading to the arrest of a suspect has reached 300,000 yuan (US$44,000).

Yesterday police published a picture of a brown carrier bag made for Puerh tea and produced by the Yunnan Longshen Green Industry Co.

The two blasts killed a 29-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man and injured 14 on two No.54 buses.

and from Go Kunming
Still searching for a major breakthrough in Monday's bus bombings on Renmin Xi Lu which left two dead and 14 injured, Kunming police have tripled the reward for clues leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals behind the attacks.

According to Kunming media reports, the biggest lead in the case that's been made public so far is that an individual suspected of involvement in the blasts was seen on the first bus to explode at 7:05 am on Monday carrying a bag with the Longsheng Pu'er Tea (龙生普洱茶) logo on it - see image above.

Kunming police have stated that the identity of anyone providing clues related to the bus bombing case will be kept strictly confidential. Anyone with information related to the case can call 110, stop by the police station at 76 Renmin Zhong Lu or call the station at 3387940 or 3623404.

Meanwhile, with Beijing less than three weeks away from the opening of the Olympics, officials are addressing reporter questions about bus security in China's capital.

"We have already taken measures and we will increase security. I hope that all people can support us," Liu Shaowu, Beijing Olympic security director, told reporters, according to a Reuters report.

"We need to step up security measures in all areas for the safety of the bus system," he said.

Official: Uighur group not responsible for Kunming bus attacks

Two weeks before the start of the Olympics in Beijing, China is denying claims made in a video that has been linked to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) that the group is responsible for the fatal July 21 bus bombings in Kunming.

In addition to the Kunming bus attacks, the group is also claiming to be behind a May 5 bus explosion in Shanghai. The video also states that the ETIM-linked group is planning more attacks on China during the Olympics, which begin on August 8 and will be held in eight Chinese cities, including Beijing.

ETIM is officially considered a terrorist organization by China, the US, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and the United Nations. ETIM's primary goal is to split Xinjiang - known as East Turkestan prior to annexation by China in 1955 - from the mainland. Xinjiang is the homeland of the Uighur ethnic group, a Turkic people which is predominantly Muslim.

In the video - a copy of which has been posted on YouTube - two masked and armed men stand behind a masked man calling himself Commander Seyfullah of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which US-based private intelligence service Stratfor says is another name used by ETIM. The video includes scenes of the aftermath of the Kunming bus attacks plus other bus attacks.

In the first official response to the video, a Yunnan official said no link between terrorism and the bus attacks has been found so far. Five days after bus bombings in Kunming that killed two and injured 14, police have yet to announce any major clues in the case.

"We have noticed media reports about the claims, but so far, no evidence has been found to indicate the explosions were connected with terrorists and their attacks, or with the Beijing Olympics," a Yunnan Public Security Bureau spokesman told Xinhua, according to a Reuters report.

Stratfor notes that this year TIP has begun to make noise on the Internet, with videos featuring calls for a Uighur jihad against China, training scenes, executions of at least three Han Chinese, and profiles of the group and its former leader Hasan Mahsum, who was killed in Pakistan in 2003.

ETIM fractured after Mahsum's death and many of its members relocated to Afghanistan. After 2003, ETIM has been linked to Uzbek and other foreign militants operating around the border area shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan. More recently, TIP has been releasing a growing number videos, most notably an April 2008 video in which it warned China it would attack the Olympics, according to Stratfor.

TIP's leader is believed to be a man named Abdul Haq, who worked with Mahzum to train Uighur militants in Afghanistan in 2001 and has ordered attacks on central China. According to a transcript released by US-based IntelCenter, Commander Seyfullah states in the video - which is dated July 23rd - that:

"Our damullah, Abdul Heq [Haq], made his final order to the [person] responsible for the military regarding the issue of severely attacking all central cities in inner China, particularly focusing on eight cities that are going to hold Olympic games. ... ask our merciful Allah to allow these brothers and sisters [suicide bombers] to deal a fatal blow in this jihad against Chinese and we ask our merciful Allah to completely stop Olympic Games. ... Bomb Chinese government buildings, military barracks, airplanes, airports, railways, hotels, entertainment venues, tourist spots and similar places...You're even permitted to use biological weapons this time."

While ETIM/TIP are considered to have the operational capacity to strike mainland China outside of Xinjiang, analysts are skeptical of TIP's claims to be behind the Kunming and Shanghai attacks, with some suggesting an attempt by a group - which may or may not be TIP - to increase China's terrorism jitters before the Olympics by claiming responsibility for unrelated incidents around the country this year.
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