18 killed in Xinjiang police station attack: Police

18 killed in Xinjiang police station attack: Police

Officials said 14 Uyghurs were killed by Chinese security forces when they allegedly attacked a police station in China's Xinjiang province, shouting "jihadi" slogans.

Disclosing the details of the attack on the police station in Hotan city for the first time, reports in the official media here said all the 14 "rioters" killed were Uyghurs, a Muslim community of Turkic origin.

Four others, including two police officials were also killed in the attack.
However, the Germany-based exile group the World Uyghur Congress, contradicted the official Chinese version and said police had opened fire at the Uyghur protesters who had assembled outside the police station to seek the release of detainees.
The group put the number of Uyghurs killed at 20.

Tension has brewed in Xinjiang province, which borders Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) ever since massive riots between indigenous Uyghurs and Han Chinese settlers led to the killing of nearly 200 people.

Giving details on the July 18 attack, Ablet Metniyaz, chief of the police station, said "all rioters were males and aged between 20 and 40. Most of them did not speak the Hotan dialect".

"I shouted in Uyghur, asking the rioters to stop... and to settle their dispute peacefully. But they kept throwing home-made Molotov cocktails and rocks at us," Metniyaz was quoted by the state run Global Times as saying.

Armed with axes, knives and explosive devices, the attackers took six civilians hostage until police intervened and disarmed them around 90 minutes later, Zhao Genming, a spokesperson with the Hotan public security bureau, said.

"It is very clear that they belonged to an extremist religious organisation. They shouted jihadi slogans and waved flags," Hou Hanmin, chief of the regional information office said.
The rioters stabbed an Uyghur security guard at the entrance of the police station before entering the building. They then took hostages, including two Han women who were later stabbed to death, police said.

A Han paramilitary police officer was killed by attackers.
"They were absolutely brutal. Eleven of them together stabbed and hacked the armed policeman to death," Reyihanguli, a police station staff member said.

The situation in Hotan was back to normal as order was restored, police said, although the attacked station was in a very busy area of the city.

Pan Zhiping, director of the Central Asia Institute of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said this was another case of extremism and separatism persisting in Xinjiang.
"Some are still recovering from the riots in July, 2009," Pan told the Global Times.

Xinjiang's overall situation has been improving but some small groups of extremists are still scattered across the region, Pan said, adding that the scale of these cells make them hard to trace and locate.

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