No fewer than 18 people died in a bomb-and-knife attack by ethnic Uighurs on unarmed traffic police in China’s Xinjiang region, media reports have said.
Citing an anonymous source, the report said on Tuesday as many as 28 people, including bystanders might have died in the attack on the outskirts of the city of Kashgar, Xinjiang, in north-western China.
Chinese media carried no reports of unrest.
Xinjiang is largely closed off to foreign media, delaying and compromising information from the region and rendering reports difficult to confirm.
Reports said the attack on Monday began when a car sped through a police checkpoint, adding that two passengers reportedly rushed out of the car and stabbed two police officers to death.
A battle then ensued involving three more attackers and armed police who arrived at the scene, Heyhag, district police officer Turghun Memet, was quoted as saying.
Fifteen suspects “designated as terrorists” were killed, Memet said.
It was unclear how many people, including civilians, died in total, the report said.
Asked to confirm the story, a man answering the phone at Ostengboyi police station said: “I don’t know” and immediately hung up the phone.
An Id Kah police station officer replied, “I don’t know. You should ask my leader,” and also hung up.
The region has a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population, including attacks that claimed dozens of lives in 2014.
Uighurs, a primarily Muslim ethnic group, make up no fewer than 9 million of Xinjiang’s 22 million people.
Many Uighurs in Xinjiang complain of cultural and religious repression and claim that ethnic Han Chinese migrants enjoy the main benefits of development in the oil-rich but economically backward region.
Chinese authorities in May announced that they had foiled 181 terror plots in a year-long crackdown on the region.