Beijing, March 11 : Residents from China’s Xinjiang province have reportedly joined the ranks of the Islamic State (IS), a top official from the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region confirmed for the first time on Tuesday.
Zhang Chunxian, the region’s top leader, said that some residents had crossed the border illegally to join IS. He added that the group’s growing international appeal had affected Xinjiang too, reported China Daily.
While addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the annual National People’s Congress session, Zhang said that the law enforcement authorities had recently busted a terrorist cell run by jihadists who returned from fighting with the IS.
He stressed that the IS posed a threat to all countries across the globe and a joint international effort was required to fight it.
Xinjiang has been the hotbed of religious extremism in recent years that has led to a number of terror attacks in the region and elsewhere in China.
Zhang said that the region had been working hard to end religious extremism while dealing with inroads made by new groups, but added that it will take time.