Dozens of people killed by police as armed group attacks towns in southwest China’s mostly Uyghur Xinjiang
The official Xinhua news agency has revealed brief details of the incident which took place on Monday.
It says police shot dead dozens of the group after it staged two assaults on two towns in the Xianjing region.
The report quoted local police saying the group first attacked a police station and government offices in the town of Elixku in Shache county, before some then moved on to the nearby town of Huangdi, attacking civilians and smashing and setting fire to six vehicles.
“Police officers at the scene shot dead dozens of members of the mob,” the report said.
It says an initial investigation showed it was an “organised and premeditated terrorist attack”.
The dead and injured include both Uyghurs and members of China’s ethnic majority Han population.
The attack took place at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which officials had tried to get Muslims in Xinjiang to ignore.
Rights groups say it is in an indication of discrimination targeting the Uyghurs.
Shache, also known by its Uighur name of Yarkant, is located in Xinjiang’s mostly Uyghur southwest, close to the borders of Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
China exercises tight control over the region, saying Islamist militants or separatists there want to establish an independent state.
It is not known why the incident was not reported earlier.