Eleven die as bombers strike in restive province

Eleven people were killed in suicide bomb attacks on government offices and a subsequent police shoot-out in the restive province of Xinjiang as Muslim militants stepped up their campaign of violence in China's "wild west" to highlight their demand for separatism.

It was the second major attack in the province in less than a week. China has identified militants seeking an independent "East Turkestan" homeland for Muslim Uighurs as the biggest threat to security at the Olympics.

Two suicide bombers armed with home-made grenades and a security guard died in the dawn attacks on government offices in the town of Kuqa, in the south of Xinjiang, more than 1,800 miles from the Chinese capital, Beijing. Police subsequently shot dead eight assailants, the Xinhua news agency reported. The bombers travelled by taxi to their targets.

Security was high on the agenda at the weekend, with the bombings yesterday and the killing on Saturday of the father-in-law of the US men's volleyball coach in a knife attack at a popular tourist spot, the Drum Tower, in the capital. Another family member was injured.

Yesterday's bombings followed an attack last week in which separatists drove a truck into a group of policeman who were out jogging in Kashgar, in the far west of the province, before throwing home-made grenades and attacking the officers with knives, killing 16.

Wang Wei, secretary general of the Beijing Games organisers, said Xinjiang separatists were engaged in a campaign to use the "platform of the Olympics to amplify the effects" of their actions. Keen to reassert control, police have sealed off the entire county and closed shops and businesses.

The province is home to eight million Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group who share linguistic and cultural bonds with central Asia, and is an area from where China gets much of its oil and gas. Uighurs used to dominate the region, but Han Chinese now make up the majority of the province's 20 million people after an intensive resettlement policy in recent years.

The Islamist separatists want autonomy and have been linked to a number of recent attacks. Last week they issued a chilling video containing footage of a bomb factory and urging people to "stay away from the Games". The separatists have also been linked to a bus bombing in the city of Kunming last month, five days before which a Uighur militant was discovered carrying 100 detonators.

With 2.3 million soldiers, 800,000 reservists and a People's Armed Police of 1.5 million, the People's Liberation Army is the biggest army in the world, but it has had a tough job keeping a lid on violence in Xinjiang. Thousands of soldiers are stationed there to protect the valuable oil and gas deposits. Long lines of army trucks can be seen driving alongside the network of new highways criss-crossing the desert province.

The authorities in Beijing say the Uighurs in Xinjiang are violent Islamist fundamentalists trying to cut off the province from Chinese rule. Human rights groups regularly complain about how the Uighurs are treated and accuse Beijing of using its support for Washington's "war on terror" against al-Qa'ida as an excuse for clamping down on their activities.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger
footballLIVE: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
News
newsNew images splice vintage WWII photos with modern-day setting
Arts and Entertainment
The star dances on a balcony in the video
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines