BEIJING (dpa/NAN) ― Dozens of people have died in attacks and clashes in a restive area of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, state media said on Tuesday.
Reports says police reportedly shot dead “dozens of members of the mob” who carried out a “terrorist attack” early Monday on a police station.
The group also attacked government offices and civilians in Elixku township in Xinjiang’s Shache.
“A gang armed with knives attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku township, and some moved on to the nearby Huangdi township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed,” an official source said.
“Dozens of Uighur and Han civilians were killed or injured,” the agency quoted local police as saying, referring to the region’s Uighur ethnic minority and the Han Chinese majority who make up more than 90 per cent of China’s population.
“Initial investigation showed that it was a premeditated terror attack,” the agency reported.
But Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, quoted local sources as saying that the clashes followed a large protest against the Chinese government’s “extreme suppression” of Uighurs.
Armed police clashed with the protesters, killing 20 Uighurs and injuring 10, Raxit said in a statement.
Thirteen police officers were also killed in the clashes, and about 67 people were arrested, he said.
Raxit warned that China’s “provocation and discrimination” against Uighurs, a mainly Muslim minority, risked causing more local conflict in Xinjiang.
China’s ruling Communist Party has launched a major crackdown on terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang following a spate of recent attacks that were blamed on Uighurs, including one that left 39 dead and 94 injured in Urumqi, the regional capital, on May 22.
Uighurs make up about eight million of Xinjiang’s 21.8 million people.
Photo Credit: AFP/Yahoo News/Reuters