Police kill 8 'terrorists' in Xinjiang attack: report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 December, 2013, 12:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 January, 2014, 8:28am

Police in Xinjiang killed eight people who had attacked them using knives and explosives in a stand-off in the early hours of Monday. One further suspect has since been detained. 

The group of "violent knife-wielding assailants" attacked the local public security bureau in Yarkant County near Kashgar with bombs at around 6.30am on Monday morning, according to the provincial online news portal Tianshan. The Xinhua news agency referred to the attackers as "terrorists".

State media have not identified the so-called attackers. 

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the Munich-based exiled World Uyghur Congress, told the South China Morning Post the nine were demonstrating against a series of arbirtrary arrests and not attacking the police station. 

The restive Xinjiang province has seen a series of clashes in recent months between members of the Uygur ethnic minority and security forces.

Monday's clash occurred about two hundred kilometres southwest of Kashgar's Sayibage Township, where 16 people died in another clash between Uygurs and police two weeks ago. 

Raffaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow with the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, estimated that at least 130 people have died in similar clashes in Xinjiang this year. 

"Four years after the [2009] riots, it seems that the violence is creeping up again," he said. "At least since April, we have seen a steady a pattern of violence. It has been consistent and constant."

For Pantucci, Xinjiang's recent economic development exacerbated long-standing ethnic tensions. "If you talk to Uygurs there is a perception that the majority of the population is not benefitting from the increased economic investment in the region," he said. 

With gross domestic product growth at 10.3 per cent, the region was China's ninth-fastest growing administrative division over the first three quarters of 2013, according to government figures. 

Some 850,000 people live in Yarkant, according to government figures, 96.3 per cent are Uygurs. 

Calls to the Yarkant county administration and its police department went unanswered on Monday. 


March 7: downtown Korla: at least four dead

April 23: Selibuya Township, Kashgar: 21 dead, including 15 social workers and police

June 26: Lukqun Township, Shanshan county, in Turpan prefecture: 35 killed, including two police

June 28: Hanairike Township: no official death toll, but locals said several people were killed

August 20: Kargilik County, Kashgar: at least 16 dead, including one police officer

October 28: Tiananmen Square, Beijing: five dead, including two tourists

November 16: Selibuya Township, Kashgar: 11 dead, including two auxiliary police officers

December 15: Shufu County, Kashgar: 16 dead, including two police officers