18 Killed in New Outbreak of Violence in Xinjiang

Eighteen people in total were killed in the city of Kashgar, Xinjiang (northwest), in two attacks and the intervention of the police.

The violence came less than two weeks after the disturbances on July 18, which killed 20 people in the city of Hotan, also located in Xinjiang autonomous region.

A first attack with knives waged by two Uighurs Saturday, killing six people. One of the attackers was killed, according to the government of the autonomous region.

Sunday afternoon, in a second attack with knives, six people were killed in Kashgar, two at a restaurant and four others on the streets of this city in far west Xinjiang, near the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Police shot dead four “suspects” Sunday afternoon in Kashgar, and a fifth died in hospital from his injuries after he was arrested with three other alleged attackers.

“Xinjiang, home to a Uighur minority and other ethnic groups, has been under the threat of terrorism,” says the Xinhua news agency.

“Four suspects were shot (…) and four others were arrested, while another four police search after an eruption of violence 4:30 p.m.” (0830 GMT), said the official agency, who after initially spoke of an explosion, spoke of the “rioters”.

According to the government website tianshannet.com, two strangers seized a van stopped at a stoplight on a busy street of a night market. They killed the driver and the vehicle headed into the crowd which stood on the sidewalk.

The two men then got out of the truck and began stabbing passers-by, killing six people and injured 28, before the crowd stand up and kill one of the attackers.

A spokesman for the autonomous region, Hou Hanmin (侯汉敏), said the two attackers were Uighurs, and the survivor had been arrested.

More than eight million Uighurs live in Xinjiang, and many denounced for decades the cultural and religious repression, as well as the mass immigration of Han, the ethnic majority in China.

The major efforts made by Beijing in recent years to develop the economically resource-rich but still largely undeveloped region, , while many Uighurs say the efforts have primarily benefited Hans.

The capital of Xinjiang, Urumqi, had been shaken in July 2009 riots between Uighurs and Hans, causing at least 200 deaths and some 1,700 injured, according to official sources.

After the deadliest ethnic riots in China in decades, a relentless crackdown on the Uighurs had been shot with dozens of executions, disappearances and arrests of many, further exacerbating the resentment of the minority against the power of the Chinese Government.