Authorities have released a few more details about the attack on border police in Kashgar, Xinjiang, though foreign reporters have had a hard time confirming the details and have been forcibly prevented from reporting on the story at all in some cases. Xinhua has more details on yesterday’s attack. Read also this report from The Scotsman:
State broadcaster China Central Television said today that the two men, aged 28 and 33, had carefully planned the attack, stealing the truck and ramming it into a group of around 70 border patrol paramilitary police as they passed a hotel during a morning jog. They then hurled the explosives and attacked the policemen with knives.
One of the attackers lost a hand when the home-made explosives blew up.
Afterward, police recovered additional explosives, a gun, and “propaganda materials about a holy war,” state media said.
Sky News also reports on the arrest of 18 alleged terrorists near Kashgar, though reportedly not for yesterday’s attack:
The “foreign terrorists” were also arrested in the area, but are not being linked to the attacks.
Kashgar Party Secretary Shi Dagang told reporters that the people arrested were linked to an earlier incident of unrest.
He did not say when they had been taken into custody.
“We can see clearly that these forces are trying to wage a psychological and violent battle against the Olympics,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, local residents fear a backlash after the attacks:
Residents said they feared they would be blamed because the two assailants arrested at the scene were identified by police as Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority already subject to strict security measures.
Black-clad police officers carrying short clubs patrolled the Uighur neighborhood Tuesday, entering several houses to check occupants’ names against a government list of registered residents. Police presence at highway checkpoints and throughout the city was beefed up.
“Everyone is so scared,” one woman said. “They don’t want to open their mouths.”
For more information, read this backgrounder from the Council on Foreign Relations about Uighurs and Xinjiang.