18 die in terrorist attack near Chinese checkpoint

2015-06-24 14:00
Uighurs set a Chinese flag on fire as they stage a demonstration. (Adem Altan, AFP)

Uighurs set a Chinese flag on fire as they stage a demonstration. (Adem Altan, AFP)

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Beijing - At least 18 people died in a bomb-and-knife attack by ethnic Uighurs on unarmed traffic police in China's troubled Xinjiang region, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Citing an anonymous source, the US-based broadcaster reported late Tuesday that as many as 28 people including bystanders might have died in the attack on the outskirts of the city of Kashgar in north-western China.

Chinese media carried no reports of unrest.

Xinjiang is largely closed off to foreign media, delaying and compromising information from the region and rendering reports difficult to confirm.

The attack on Monday began when a car sped through a police checkpoint, the report said. Two passengers reportedly rushed out of the car and stabbed to death two police officers.

A battle then ensued involving three more attackers and armed police who arrived at the scene, Heyhag district police officer Turghun Memet told RFA.

Fifteen suspects "designated as terrorists" were killed, Memet said.

It was unclear how many people, including civilians, died in total, the report said.

Asked to confirm the story, a man answering the phone at Ostengboyi police station told dpa "I don't know" and immediately hung up the phone. An Id Kah police station officer replied, "I don't know. You should ask my leader," and hung up.

The region has a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population including attacks that claimed dozens of lives in 2014.

Uighurs, a primarily Muslim ethnic group, make up about 9 million of Xinjiang's 22 million people.

Many Uighurs in Xinjiang complain of cultural and religious repression and claim that ethnic Han Chinese migrants enjoy the main benefits of development in the oil-rich but economically backward region.

Chinese authorities in May announced via state broadcaster CCTV that they had foiled 181 terror plots in a year-long crackdown on the region.

Read more on:    china  |  security

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