Police shoot dead 13 attackers who rammed a public security building in Xinjiang

Attackers drive at least one car into security building in Yecheng and set off explosives

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 June, 2014, 1:41pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 11:16am

Police shot dead 13 people who attacked a police station in Xinjiang yesterday, local authorities said.

Attackers drove at least one car into the main police station in Yecheng and set off explosives. Three policemen were injured.

Police in Kashgar, which administers the larger prefecture that contains Yecheng county, did not answer calls. A spokesman for the Xinjiang government also could not be reached for comment.

Yecheng, also called Kargilik, is no stranger to violence. In March 2012, nine axe-wielding men attacked and killed 13 shoppers and police in the town's market.

Police shot dead seven of the attackers and arrested the two survivors.

Yecheng is at the crossroads of highways leading to Tibet, Qinghai and Kashgar. The county also shares borders with, and road crossings, to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Last month, attackers drove two SUVs into a street market in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi , and threw explosives, killing 39 people and injuring scores more. On April 30, a bomb and knife attack at Urumqi South railway station killed three people, including two perpetrators, and injured 79.

Xinjiang's nine million Turkic-speaking Muslim Uygurs, by far the largest of about a dozen minorities in the autonomous region, have complained of discrimination and ostracisation from their culture and identity in a Han-dominated country.

Violence linked to Xinjiang's ethnic unrest has spread to other cities. On March 1, a group of men armed with knives killed 25 people and injured more than 140 at the main railway station in Kunming , Yunnan . Last October, a car crashed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst into flames, killing two bystanders and the car's three occupants. Thirty-eight people were injured.

Officials usually attribute the attacks to Islamic separatists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

President Xi Jinping has responded to the upsurge of violence with a massive security crackdown in the region. Tightened patrols, intensive weapons drills and other new security measures have been put in place.

Dilxadi Rexiti, a spokesman for the World Uygur Congress, an organisation of exiled Uygurs, said the crackdown would exacerbate the situation. "Once again, I urge China to stop the repression and change its aggressive policies," Rexiti said.