China police kill 7 Uighurs in Xinjiang
BEIJING - ReutersPolice in China’s restive far-western Xinjiang region killed seven “kidnappers in a hostage rescue,” official media reported on yesterday, calling the suspects members of a “terror gang” who may have been influenced by Muslim hardliners.
The kidnappers took two people hostage late Dec. 28 in Pishan County in the far southern part of Xinjiang, close to the borders of India and Pakistan, said the region’s official news website. When police responded “the assailants resisted arrest and launched assaults, killing one police officer and injuring another,” said the report. Seven of the suspects were shot dead and four were wounded and caught, said the report. The two hostages were freed.
The official Xinhua news agency said “there was speculation that the kidnapping was linked to a surge in religious extremism”. Pishan is a heavily Uighur area of Xinjiang. The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim people. China has accused militant Uighurs of working with supporters in Pakistan to plan attacks in Xinjiang. In July 2009, Uighurs rioted against Han Chinese residents in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, killing at least 197 people, mostly Han, according to official estimates.