21 killed in terrorist bomb attacks in Xinjiang: China

21 killed in terrorist bomb attacks in Xinjiang: China

21 killed in terrorist bomb attacks in Xinjiang: China

At least 21 people, including community workers and police officers, were killed in China's volatile Xinjiang province in a series of "terrorist bomb attacks," officials said today.

Confirming reports of incidents of "terrorist violence" which took place yesterday in Bachu county near Kashgar city in the Xinjiang province, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying in media briefing here today said that 21 persons were killed.

She said the area witnessed a series of bomb attacks in which 21 people were killed including six suspects who were shot dead by police. Eight suspects have been arrested.

State-run Xinhua news agency said that the dead included 15 community workers and police officers. This is the first major attack here since the new leadership headed by President Xi Jinping took over power last month.

The trouble began when three community workers found suspicious individuals and knives in the home of a local resident. They then reported the matter to their supervisors over phone, but were taken as hostage by the suspects who had been hiding in the house, the Xinhua report said.

The police officers and community officials who rushed to the scene were attacked and killed. The three community workers who had been taken captive were also killed and their house burnt. Police reinforcements which then arrived there shot at the suspects and brought the situation under control.

An initial investigation has indicated that the suspects were all terrorists who were planning violent attacks, the report said.

Besides the six suspects, the dead included ten Han Chinese, two Uygur Muslims and three Chinese Mongolians, the spokesperson said.

Xinjiang has been frequently hit by heavy violence between native Uygurs, Muslims of Turkic origin and Han Chinese settlers in the past few years. Uygurs who constituted over 45 per cent of the province, bordering Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Afghanistan resent the growing settlement of Hans, the majority Chinese race, who now constitute 40 per cent of the population.

"Some people are creating trouble to disrupt peace and tranquillity of Xinjiang. Their schemes are doomed to fail", Chunying said adding that China will crackdown on such crime for the safety of people.

China blames the violence on the East Turkic Islamic Movement (ETIM), believed to be affiliated to al-Qaeda.

The Kasghgar county is also close to Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the local security officials in the past have alleged that some of the militants were trained in Pakistan.

China has deployed large number of security forces in the province to contain the spread of violence.

The violence comes when China is, for the first time, trying to coordinate with India, besides Russia and Pakistan to work out a joint strategy to deal with return of Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan when US troops move out next year.

Beijing avers this development in Afghanistan could have a major fallout on Xinjiang.
China and India have held talks on this issue in several official meetings during the past two months.

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