Xinjiang police shoot dead attacker armed with knife and bomb, capture another

Officers in restive region foil bomb and knife attack triggered when they checked suspect car

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 May, 2014, 6:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 May, 2014, 2:03am

Police in Xinjiang shot dead one man and captured another yesterday after they attacked the officers with a knife and explosives.

The incident follows attacks at railway stations in the past two months, blamed on Uygur separatists from Xinjiang, that have put security forces on high alert.

Police were inspecting a suspicious car in Aksu after a tip-off at about 1.20pm when the suspects came at the officers with a knife and threw explosives at their patrol car, Xinhua reported. One attacker was killed and another captured, while an auxiliary officer was seriously injured.

The brief report did not identify the attackers or say whether the explosives injured passers-by or damaged buildings.

"The social order in that area is normal," it said.

Dilxadi Rexiti, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uygur Congress, said the incident stemmed from police insulting Uygurs during the vehicle check.

In recent years violence has escalated in Xinjiang, where the mainly Muslim Uygurs make up a large minority of the population. Authorities blame the trouble on religious extremists and separatists.

Uygur assailants were blamed for attacks at the Kunming and Urumqi railway stations in the past two months, in which killed 30 innocent civilians were killed and more than 200 injured.

In February, Xinhua said 11 "terrorists" were killed in Aksu after they attacked a police patrol.

"Such attacks have become increasingly frequent and it might take a long while before we see the turning point," said Pan Zhiping , professor at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences. "The complexities of ethnic and religious issues have always been a difficult task historically and we need to review our way of administering Xinjiang for the past three decades."

Meanwhile Beijing staged an anti-terror drill involving more than 30 armoured vehicles travelling 100 kilometres around the capital. Troops demonstrated their ability to respond swiftly to attacks and dispose of bombs, while helicopters hovered above.

And a court in Kashgar , Xinjiang, sentenced five people to between seven and 15 years in jail for "separatism and endangering national security", the Xinjiang Daily said.

They were accused of calling on people to go to Afghanistan and Pakistan to join "the holy war". They were also accused of spreading extremist religious thoughts, preparing restricted weapons and distributing material that promotes separatism.