16 September 2014
Even as Indonesian police continue to investigate four ethnic Uighurs arrested in Sulawesi over the weekend on suspicion of terror links, attention is being focused on the rising number of this group from China’s restive Xinjiang province making their way to Southeast Asia in recent months.
Scores of illegal immigrants from Xinjiang have been arrested in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, and analysts say the trend is linked to rising violence in their home province over the past year.
Many of them arrive in the hope of seeking asylum in Turkey, a country that has been sympathetic to their plight given their ethnic and linguistic kinship, even though few have made it there.
“The vast majority do not support separatism or terrorism,” Dr Rohan Gunaratna of Singapore’s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research told The Straits Times.
“However, a very small number of them are involved in supporting extremist activity,” he added.
GPO / ICPVTR / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 17/09/2014