A confrontation involving axes,knives,at least one gun and ending with the burning down of a house left 21 people dead in Chinas troubled far-west region of Xinjiang,a government spokeswoman said on Wednesday,calling it a terrorist attack.
Nine residents,six police and six ethnic Uighurs were killed in Tuesdays drama,said Hou Hanmin,spokeswoman for the Xinjiang government. It was unclear how many burnt to death. Hou did not name any group,but China has blamed previous attacks in energy-rich Xinjiang strategically located on the borders of Afghanistan,Pakistan,India and Central Asia on Islamic separatists who want to establish an independent East Turkestan.
Three community workers were patrolling a neighbourhood of Bachu County,known as Maralbexi by Uighurs,in Kashgar after a tip-off that there were suspicious people in a private house,Hou said. One of the three used a phone to call for help after they found a number of knives,resulting in them being killed by 14 Uighur rioters in the house,Hou said.
The community people were just conducting regular checks,but the action from the rioters was planned and well prepared, Hou said. Its certainly a terrorist attack.
Several police and other community workers came in different groups to the home where the Uighurs used axes and large knives to slash the police officers and workers,Hou said. Only one police officer was armed with a gun,she said.
The battle ended with the gang members burning down the house,killing the rest of the people there,Hou said. Eight people have been detained.