Violence Erupts Again In Xinjiang-Uighur

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BEIJING, Aug. 1 (UPI) — The ethnically tense Xinjiang-Uighur region in China’s northwest erupted in violence again during the weekend, leaving several people dead, state media report.

Noting the region, which has a large Muslim population, has been under a “terrorist threat,” the official Xinhua news agency reported the latest violence broke out Saturday in the border town of Kashgar.

The report said violence began after the attackers killed at least seven people in Kashgar Saturday night.

On Sunday, two suspects hijacked a truck after stabbing the driver to death. It said the two then rammed the truck into pedestrians before jumping out of the vehicle.

The two also hacked pedestrians and killed three of them, Xinhua said, quoting witnesses. Local sources were quoted as saying there were also blasts at the scene.

It was not clear how many people were allegedly involved in the violence but Xinhua said four suspects were later shot dead by police Sunday, four more caught and another four being sought.

“Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur minority and other ethnic groups, has been under terrorist threat,” Xinhua said.

On July 18, police shot 14 rioters who attacked a police station and killed four people in Xinjiang’s Hotan city, another border town near Pakistan, Xinhua said.

Police concluded the Hotan incident was “a severely violent terrorism case” that was organized by terrorism groups, Xinhua said, but gave no other details.

Commenting on the Hotan incident to Washington Post, the World Uighur Congress an exile group in Germany had said the protesters were trying to rally at the police station in support of detained people when the police opened fire on them.

The region was the scene of rioting in July 2009 in the capital Urumqi, in which 197 people died and about 1,700 were injured in the worst such ethnic violence.

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking minority which considers Xinjiang their homeland but resent being ruled by Han Chinese.

Amnesty International has accused Chinese police of torture and secret mass arrests to repress the Uighurs.

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