Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


China says plane hijack attempt thwarted

29 June 2012, 16:05

 Beijing - Six members of China's Uighur minority tried to hijack an aircraft flying from a restive city in the far-western Xinjiang region on Friday but crew members and passengers thwarted them, authorities said.

The aircraft returned safely to the airport in Hotan city - which has seen a spate of violent clashes between mainly Muslim Uighurs and police due to simmering ethnic tensions - and the suspects were detained, authorities said.

"The six hijackers are Uighurs," Hou Hanmin, a spokesperson for the government of Xinjiang said.

"For the moment, we don't know the purpose of the hijack. It's still under investigation," she said, adding at least seven crew members and passengers had been injured in the incident.

The aircraft took off at 12:25 (local time) from Hotan, then 10 minutes into the flight the six suspects tried to "violently hijack" the aircraft, according to tianshannet.com, the Xinjiang government's news website.

But crew members and passengers soon brought them under control and the aircraft returned to the city, the website said.

Regular unrest

The aircraft - which belongs to Tianjin Airlines, according to the official Xinhua news agency - had been bound for the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, it added without providing further details.

Xinjiang is home to around nine million Uighurs, many of whom complain of religious and cultural repression by Chinese authorities - a claim the government denies - and the region is regularly hit by unrest.

Exiled Uighurs have accused authorities of launching a crackdown ahead of the anniversary of deadly July 2009 clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in Urumqi, among the most violent ethnic unrest in China in recent years.

Earlier this month, 12 children were injured when police raided an Islamic school in Hotan, amid the crackdown that has also targeted "illegal" religious activities.

Police said they descended on an "illegal religious study centre" on 6 June to free children being held there when criminal suspects "ignited a flammable explosive device".

They said officers had to fight to put out the fire, and 12 children suffering from burns were sent to hospital. Authorities have since launched house-to-house searches in the city.

Police station attack

The exiled World Uyghur Congress (WUC) group, however, has disputed the government version of events, citing sources on the ground as saying police tossed tear gas into the school and caused the confrontation.

In July last year, at least 20 people - including Uighur protesters - were killed in Hotan in a clash with police.

State media quoted an official in the region as saying the clash was a "terrorist" attack and said four people including a police officer were killed when a crowd set upon a police station in the remote city.

But Uighur activists called it an outburst of anger by ordinary members of the minority, and accused authorities of attempting to block information on the deadly incident.

Xinjiang, a vast resource-rich region that borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been under heavy security since the July 2009 ethnic riots.

Rights groups say the violence in the region stems from long-held grievances among Uighurs, who complain of decades of repressive rule by Beijing and say an influx of Han is eroding their culture.

The government, however, says it has provided much-needed development to the region, and blames much of the violence there on what it calls the three "evil forces" of religious extremism, separatism and terrorism.


Tags china

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...