Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 16:44 UK

China executes Uighur 'militants'

By James Reynolds
BBC News, Beijing


China says it has executed two ethnic Uighur Muslims, sentenced to death last year on terror-related offences.

The pair were found guilty of killing 17 policemen in an attack in the western region of Xinjiang, four days before the Beijing Olympics in August.

The run-up to the Games was marked by an apparent resurgence in militancy among Uighurs, some of whom have been seeking independence for Xinjiang.

Xinjiang is home to more than eight million Uighur Muslims.

China charges that armed Uighur separatists have been waging war against the state for many years.

But human rights groups accuse China of exaggerating this threat in order to suppress the local population.

Attackers named

The assault on the police barracks in the city of Kashgar was one of the most serious attacks on Chinese security forces for many years.

Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991
Uighurs worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture

China says that two local men detonated explosives and drove a stolen truck into a group of police officers who were out jogging.

Now, China says that the two attackers - who have been named as 34-year-old Abdurahman Azat and 29-year-old Kurbanjan Hemit - have been executed.

The official Xinhua news agency reports that news of the two men's execution was broken before a crowd of 4,000 officials and residents at a stadium in Kashgar.

China has not said exactly where or how the two men were killed.

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