Chinese media says Muslim Uyghurs deported from Thailand to China last month are still being held in detention while authorities investigate alleged connections to militant Islamic groups.
The August 5 reports also said some of the 109 Uyghurs had fought with Thai and Chinese police as they were being forcibly put on a flight back to China out of fear they would be executed.
The Global Times newspaper said several of the Uyghurs had planned to travel from Thailand to Turkey and may have ended up fighting in neighboring Iraq or Syria.
Police said they suspect 13 from the group of having terrorist links.
The reports did not say why the others -- among them women and children -- remained detained almost a month after being sent back to China.
Uyghurs are Turkic-speaking, indigenous Muslims from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.
The mass deportation on July 9 by Thailand has raised international criticism the refugees could face persecution by Chinese authorities.
The UN's refugee agency called the deportations "a flagrant violation of international law."
Based on reporting by AP and globaltimes.cn