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Seven killed in knife attack in China's Xinjiang

BEIJING (AFP) - Knife-wielding attackers in China's ethnically-tense Xinjiang stabbed to death seven people and injured 28 others in a rampage, authorities said Sunday, in the region's latest bout of unrest.

One of the attackers was later killed in the violence that erupted Saturday night in Kashgar city -- the second attack this month in Xinjiang, where the mainly Muslim Uighur minority has long seethed against Chinese rule.


Armed policemen try to rescue hostages at a police station during a clash in Hotan, Xinjiang, July 18. (Xinjiang Public Security Bureau)
Armed policemen try to rescue hostages at a police station during a clash in Hotan, Xinjiang, July 18. (Xinjiang Public Security Bureau)

Hou Hanmin, spokeswoman for the government of the northwestern region, told AFP the attackers were both Uighurs, adding the suspect who was still alive had been detained.

"The case is still under investigation so I don't have more information," she said.

According to tianshannet.com, a website run by the regional government, the two attackers hijacked a truck that was waiting at a light at a night market in Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road city near the border with Kyrgyzstan.

They killed the driver, ploughed the vehicle into passers-by on a nearby pavement, then got off the truck and started stabbing people at random, leaving six bystanders dead before the crowd turned on them and killed one attacker.

Police in Kashgar would not comment when contacted by AFP.

The attack is the latest bout of unrest to hit Xinjiang -- a vast, arid but resource-rich region bordering Central Asia, home to more than eight million Turkic-speaking Uighurs -- that has long been plagued by unrest.

Earlier this month, more than 20 people were killed in a violent clash with police in the remote city of Hotan.

State media quoted an official in Xinjiang as saying that clash was a "terrorist" attack, adding that four people including a police officer were killed when a crowd set upon a police station.

But Uighur activists called it an outburst of anger by ordinary Uighurs and said security forces beat 14 people to death and shot dead six others during the unrest.

Many Uighurs are unhappy with what they say has been decades of repressive rule by Beijing and the unwanted immigration of China's dominant Han ethnic group.

While standards of living have improved, Uighurs complain that most of the gains go to the Han.

This culminated with savage Uighur attacks on Han Chinese in the regional capital Urumqi in July 2009.

The government says nearly 200 people were killed and 1,700 injured in the riots -- China's worst ethnic violence in decades -- which shattered the authoritarian Communist Party's claims of harmony and unity among the country's dozens of ethnic groups.

China threw a huge security clampdown onto Xinjiang after the violence, and many Uighurs are enraged by the arrests or alleged disappearances of people rounded up across the region in the aftermath.

 

(한글요약)

괴한들 칼로 행인들 난자, 7명 사망, 28명 부상


두 명의 괴한이 중국 신장 위구르자치구에서 시민들을 무차별 난자해 일곱 명이 사망하고 28명이 부상당했다고 AFP 통신이 보도했다.

신장자치구 정부가 운영하는 인터넷 매체인 '톈산왕'에 의하면 유혈 참극은 토요일 밤 카슈가르 시내 메이스 야시장 거리 길목에서 발생했다. 범인 한 명은 군중들과의 격투 과정에서 사망했고 다른 한 명은 구금되었다고 한다. 이들은 위구르인인 것으로 밝혀졌다.

이들은 신호등 앞에서 대기하던 트럭에 올라타 운전사를 살해한 후 차를 주변 인도에 있던 보행자들을 향해 몰았다. 이어 트럭에서 내려 행인들을 흉기로 찔러 6명을 살해하고 28명을 다치게 했다. 이후 행인들이 이들에게 달려들어 제압했고 이 과정에서 괴한 한 명이 사망했고 다른 한 명은 붙잡혔다.

부상당한 행인들은 인근 병원으로 옮겨져 치료를 받고 있다. 붙잡힌 범인은 경찰의 조사를 받고 있다.

경찰은 지난 18일 신장위구르자치구 허톈시에서 발생한 파출소 습격 사건과의 관련성 여부에 주목하고 있다.

중국 당국은 파출소 사건을 폭도들에 의한 테러 사건으로 규정했으며 당시 폭도 14명을 사살하고 4명을 체포했으며, 경찰과 보안요원 각 1명씩을 포함해 4명이 숨졌다고 발표했다.

이에 반해 세계위구르회의 측은 위구르인 100여명이 평화 시위를 벌이던 도중 경찰과 시위 대가 충돌하는 과정에서 총격이 발생하면서 위구르인의 파출소 난입이 촉발됐다고 반박했다.

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