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 on Wednesday.
Confirming reports of incidents of "terrorist violence" which took place on Tuesday 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 and Afghanistan resent the growing settlement of Hans, the majority Chinese race, who now constitute 40 per cent of the population.