China: Eight killed in police- militants clashes
Eight persons, including seven “terrorists”, were killed in what officials on Thursday said was a hostage rescue mission in the China’s restive Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
According to the officials, a group of “violent terrorists” kidnapped two people in the remote mountainous areas of Pishan county in Hotan prefecture of Xinjinag.
Police officers opened fire after kidnappers “resisted arrest” during a raid last night, state-run Xinhua quoted spokesman with the Xinjiang regional government as saying.
“They were holding weapons, and they injured the local police,” said the spokeswoman, who identified the kidnappers and their hostages as Uygur, mainly Muslim ethnic group.
Significantly the report said “there was speculation that the kidnapping was linked to a surge in religious extremism in the Uygur-dominated area that borders the Kashmir region controlled by Pakistan and India”.
China faces separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang where Uyghurs Muslims resented the increasing settlements of Han Chinese from the mainland.
A similar attack in Kashmghar, a border town close to PoK, was blamed by the local government on the terrorist training camps in Pakistan after which Islamabad stepped up crackdown against ETIM militants.