Fresh Uighur clashes in China leave 11 dead

Police shot dead four people yesterday in the far north-west of China, bringing to 11 the death toll in a weekend of violence in one of the country's most troubled ethnic regions.

The four died during clashes that injured more than 10 people in what the state-run Xinhua News Agency called "an eruption of violence" in Kashgar. On Saturday, seven people were killed and 22 injured in the same Silk Road city.

Xinijang has been on edge since nearly 200 people were killed in fighting between Uighurs and Han Chinese in 2009 in Urumqi, the capital. The region has been beset by ethnic conflict and a sometimes-violent separatist movement by Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group that sees the region as its homeland.

On Saturday night, two knife-wielding men hijacked a lorry in the city, killing the driver. They then reportedly rammed the vehicle into a crowd before getting out to attack people in the street. People who came under attack retaliated, and one of the suspects was killed and the other caught, an official said. The hijackers' identities and motive were unclear. Seven people, including the suspect, died and 22 were injured.

An overseas Uighur advocacy group said that according to information received from Kashgar, most of Saturday's dead and injured were members of a security force that helps police maintain order.