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Gun battle in China’s Xinjiang kills 21 people

Xinjiang, Apr 25 (): A violent clash between “suspected terrorists” and the authorities in the restive Muslim province of Xinjiang on Tuesday killed at least 21 people, including 15 officials, according to a propaganda bureau spokeswoman for the regional government of Xinjiang.

The attack took place during the noon hours of Tuesday in a town of Bachu County, Kashgar Prefecture, some 1,200 km south-west of Urumqi, regional capital of Xinjiang.

The foreign ministry said it had been a planned attack by a “violent terrorist group”, but ethnic groups questioned this. In recent years, there have been irregular clashes in the regions of Xinjiang.

Xinjiang, a region about two times the size of Turkey, is a sprawling area that borders Central Asia. The region is home to around nine million ethnic Uighurs. Many of the ethnic Uighurs complain of cultural and religious repression by Chinese authorities.

As per reports stated by www.ts.cn, three community staff employees in Selibuya town, Bachu County, Kashgar Prefecture had found some suspicious people and knives in a residential home during their daily work visit. When the employees attempted to report the situation to their superiors via cell phone, they were threatened by members of a gang hiding inside the home.

An official said, “Afterwards policemen and community squads at the local police station went to the spot, where the bandits killed the police and community workers who were inside the home”.

More security forces reached the scene and shot at the attackers, which caused death of six of the gang members and the detention of another eight. None appeared to have fled.

The death toll was the highest for a single incident in months in Xinjiang. A release said 10 of those killed on the government side were Uighurs, three were Han, and two were from the Mongolian ethnic group. It said two other Uighurs were injured.