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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 13:30 GMT
Chinese militant 'shot dead'
A man China put top of its first "terrorist" wanted list has been shot dead in Pakistan, Pakistan's army and Chinese state media have said.

Hasan Mahsum, who China says set up the East Turkestan Islamic Movement with al-Qaeda's help, was shot on 2 October, a Pakistan army spokesman said.

He was one of eight people killed when troops besieged a suspected al-Qaeda hideout in South Waziristan.

The spokesman did not elaborate on the delay in reporting the incident.

Earlier, two Chinese official publications, the Beijing News and the International Herald Leader, reported Hasan Mahsum had been operating on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

They said he had been killed in a joint Pakistan-United States operation, but the Pakistan military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, told the BBC that only Pakistani troops were involved.

"DNA tests were conducted to determine it was him," he said, adding that China played a part in identifying the body.

Hasan Mahsum was from China's province of Xinjiang, which is populated by Turkic-speaking Uighur Muslims.

China accuses ETIM of carrying out a string of bombings and assassinations across Xinjiang, and have banned the group for more than a decade.

It included it in a list of four alleged Muslim separatist groups and 11 individuals published last week, and appealed for foreign help to catch the people it named.

After Chinese lobbying, ETIM was also banned last year by the US and the United Nations, despite criticism from diplomats who described it as defunct.

Human rights activists accuse Beijing of waging a campaign of politically motivated repression against Uighurs.

"The authorities continue to make little or no distinction between violent opposition and the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression, association and religion," the London-based rights group Amnesty International said in a statement at the weekend.

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19 Dec 03  |  Asia-Pacific
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03 Nov 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China's Uighurs mourn way of life
04 Oct 03  |  From Our Own Correspondent


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