‘Terrorist’ attack in China region leaves 21 dead

A confrontation involving axes,knives,at least one gun and ending with the burning down of a house left 21 people dead in China’s troubled far-west region of Xinjiang

Written by Reuters | Beijing | Published: April 25, 2013 2:03 am

A confrontation involving axes,knives,at least one gun and ending with the burning down of a house left 21 people dead in China’s 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 Tuesday’s 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. “It’s 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.

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