The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al-Qaeda-linked group largely made up ethnic Uighurs, commended the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia for detonating a suicide car bomb that damaged the Chinese embassy in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
At least 15 people were reportedly killed in the July 26 attack on the Jazeera hotel, including a Chinese embassy staff member. Many others were wounded.
“One embassy staff member in charge of security and guard duties” died of injuries sustained in the assault, and three other embassy staff employees were injured, confirmed China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Monday, China Daily USA, reported.
Liu Guijin, former special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs, reportedly noted that the attack “was not specifically targeting China,” and the Chinese embassy would continue operating its daily missions.
The assault was carried out in response to the Somali government and the UN-backed African Union Mission (AMISOM) cracking down on al-Shabaab’s malign activity in the region, a spokesman for al-Shabaab told Reuters.
However, a statement from TIP, translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the group claims the attack was a “practical response to the aggression of the communist government of China against the Muslims in the forgotten Islamic East Turkistan,” reports The Long War Journal.
“We the mujahideen in Turkistan Islamic Party congratulate the Islamic Ummah for this blessed operation, and we endorse it, and we encourage the Shabaab al Mujahideen Movement in Somalia to carry out more of such jihadi operations,” adds the message.
The majority of TIP members are ethnic Uighurs. Their military goal is to create an Islamic state in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
“It operates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and Syria,” notes The Long War Journal. “It fights alongside the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other jihadist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while in Syria, it fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in the country.”
U.S.-led coalition troops in Afghanistan and U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have reportedly been responsible for killing TIP’s leaders and followers.