Axe, knife attack on China police station kills 11

Axe, knife attack on China police station kills 11
File photo taken on August 2, 2011 shows security forces during a patrol in Kashgar prefecture, China's Xinjiang region

Beijing - Eleven people were killed in an attack on a police station in China's restive Xinjiang, state media reported Sunday at a time of heightened tensions in the region following a fiery attack in Beijing.

Nine attackers and two auxiliary police officers were killed in the incident Saturday in Serikbuya township, near the historic Silk Road city of Kashgar, the official Xinhua new agency said, quoting local police.

Xinhua said the attackers were armed with knives and axes and that two other police officers were also injured. The agency gave no further details.

The cause of the violence, however, was disputed by a Xinjiang exile group, which claimed that Chinese security personnel opened fire on protesting Uighurs, the largest ethnic group in the vast western region.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, a Munich-based advocacy group, said a clash erupted after a Uighur youth was shot dead, with the eight others subsequently being killed.

"Several tens" of Uighur demonstrators were arrested, he said in an email citing what he described as locally provided information, while also mentioning the deaths and injuries of the four Chinese.

"I again call on international society to take emergency measures to stop the Chinese government from directly opening fire to suppress Uighur protesters and depriving them of using legal appeals and defending their rights," he said.

The bloodshed comes at a time of heightened tensions in the area where several violent incidents have occurred this year and following a fiery attack late last month in Beijing that the Chinese government blamed on terrorism.

The incident follows the deadly crash of a vehicle that erupted into flames at Beijing's Tiananmen Square last month. The government blamed the incident on "terrorists" from Xinjiang it said were backed by international Islamist militants.

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