27 killed as rioting hits Xinjiang

XINJIANG - Riots left 27 people dead in a remote town in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region early on Wednesday, local authorities said.

The riots happened at about 6 am in Lukqun township, Shanshan county in Turpan prefecture, about 250 km from the regional capital Urumqi.

Knife-wielding mobs attacked the township's police stations, the local government building and a construction site, stabbing people and setting fire to police cars, officials with Xinjiang's regional Party committee said.

Seventeen people - nine police officers and security guards and eight civilians - were killed before police opened fire and killed 10 rioters, the officials said.

Three rioters were seized at the scene and police were chasing those who fled, the officials said without clarifying how many were at large.

Three people were injured by the mobs and were being treated at a hospital.

The incident happened two months after a deadly attack by suspected terrorists in Bachu county, Kashgar prefecture, on April 23, in which 21 people, including 15 community workers and police officers, were killed.

"This is another typical terrorist attack in Xinjiang," Li Wei, director of the Institute of Security and Arms Control Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said on Wednesday.

"Such terrorist attacks that happen in Xinjiang are closely related to separatist forces abroad."

Police investigations into similar cases have found that the attackers in Xinjiang usually receive training and instructions from separatist forces abroad, Li said.

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