Attacks in China's Xinjiang Killed 16 Police

By English Edition Staff
Published: 2008-08-04

News Flash

Sixteen policemen died and 16 others were injured following an explosive attack in western China's Xinjiang province on Monday, according to China's Ministry of Public Security.

In a brief 100-word statement posted on the Ministry website, it said a team of border policemen from the province's Uygur autonomous region were attacked around 8am on Monday. 

The statement said the team was marching towards Yijin Hotel when two suspects drove by in a vehicle and detonated an explosive device that caused the fatal attack.

The statement added that the two suspects had been detained and an investigation was on going.

The attack came four days before the much-awaited Beijing Olympics. Though the authorities did not mention if the latest attack were "terrorist" in nature or were tied to the Olympics, the government had in previous months warned of security risks posed by separatist movement in Xinjiang, especially the Turk militants.

Xinjiang is located at the northwestern part of China, adjacent to central Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan. Its Uygur autonomous region is dominated by a Muslim population.

Just last month, explosions planted onboard two public buses in southern China's Yunnan province had left two dead and 14 injured in the incident, though the authorities said the act was deliberate but denied it was terrorism targeted at the games.

Two weeks ago Washington-based terrorism intelligence firm IntelCenter released a video by a group called the Turkistan Islamist Party, which claimed responsibility for the attacks in Yunnan and other parts of China, including Shanghai.

The speaker in the video warned that the Beijing Olympics would be targeted as well.

However, state media Xinhua reported that police investigations did not find links between terrorists and the two above-mentioned incidents, and cited public security officials who pointed out inconsistencies between the groups claims' and actual events as further proof of their uninvolvement.