Xinhua: At Least 11 Killed in Xinjiang Violence (Updated)

Xinhua reports violence in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar, leaving at least seven dead:

Two suspects hijacked a truck at 11:45 p.m. Saturday, stabbing the driver to death and ramming into pedestrians. The pair later jumped out of the truck and hacked the passers-by.

At least six people were killed on the spot and 28 others were injured. One of the rioters died when fighting with local people, and the other was nabbed.

Before the incident two blasts were heard. The first occurred at about 10:30 p.m. from a minivan, while the other was heard almost at the same time from a food street, where the thugs hijacked the truck.

Update: The Guardian is reporting that eight were killed and 28 injured in the knife attack.

Update: Xinhua also reported another three killed and three injured in a further explosion in Kashgar on Sunday afternoon.

However, a later Xinhua report said that in fact the three were killed by “hacking,” not in an explosion. The same report says four assailants were also killed by police.

Update: Al Jazeera has more details about Saturday’s attacks:

Police have shot and killed four suspects after “an eruption of violence” that came just hours after seven people were killed by a pair of knife-wielding attackers.

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported two clashes on Sunday in Kashgar, capital of Xinjiang province, a region rocked by riots and ethnic violence in recent years. Other news agencies reported explosions and gunshots throughout the day.

An overseas ethnic activist group told the AP news agency it feared the violence could prompt a fresh crackdown on minority Uighurs blamed for previous unrest in the region.

A man reached Sunday at a hotel close to a major shopping street in Kashgar told the AP he had heard gunshots in the area in the afternoon.

The source, who would not give his name out of fear of reprisals, said he saw police, fire engines and ambulances, which were carrying at least two injured. He said police were not allowing people or vehicles to enter the street.

From Euro News:

See also China Says 18 Killed in Xinjiang Attack on CDT, about a clash outside a Hotan police station earlier this month, and an article on that incident and the region’s tense political and economic situation from the current edition of The Economist:

The situation in Xinjiang, said a Chinese foreign-ministry official in early July, is “good and stable”. Less than two weeks later, on July 18th, the restive region in China’s far west was again rocked by violence. Officials say police opened fire on separatist rioters in the oasis town of Khotan, killing 14. Two security officers and two people described as civilian hostages were also killed in the clash, the bloodiest in Xinjiang in two years. Recent government efforts to buy calm with dollops of aid do not appear to be working.

Exactly what happened in Khotan is uncertain. An exile group campaigning for Xinjiang’s independence from China said the police fired on protesters who had been peacefully airing grievances about police repression of Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group of Turkic origin who until recently dominated Xinjiang but now form less than half the population. Officials say the police came under attack by “terrorists” armed with Molotov cocktails, bombs and knives. The assailants, says one official account, stormed a police station and unfurled a banner “promoting separatism”. Another account says they had black flags on which were written: “Allah is the only God. In the name of Allah ….”

Little evidence backs claims of terrorism linked to al-Qaeda. Violence in Xinjiang shows few hallmarks such as suicide bombings or attacks on civilian targets. Security measures in Kashgar hardly suggest a preoccupation with terrorism, but rather an attempt to keep the population cowed. On February 20th, during calls online for a “jasmine revolution” in Chinese cities, Kashgar police stationed water cannon near the city’s main mosque, while riot police lurked in a government compound. Plainclothes goons routinely follow and harass visiting correspondents.


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