Violent clashes have killed 35 people in the Xinjiang region of China.
The Turkic-speaking region has often been the centre of conflicts between China’s Muslim minority Uighurs and the ethnic Han majority. Over the past years, Uighurs have repeatedly complained of suppression and discrimination by the Han people.
Twenty-seven people lost their lives in the town of Lukqun when a group of men wielding knives attacked government buildings, including police stations, which are seen as symbols of Han authority.
The clashes also left dozens severely injured. Eleven attackers were shot dead and two police officers were killed, according to Xinhua News agency.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “This is a terrorist attack, there’s no question about it”. She added: “As to who masterminded it, local people are still investigating.”
State news reports said that police captured four injured attackers but their ethnicity has not yet been officially identified.
This was one of the bloodiest incidents since the massive unrest in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi in 2009, which left nearly 200 people dead.
Police some of the 27 who have been tragically killed in the latest conflict near Turpan, Xinjiang. pic.twitter.com/zBCYHl9me4
— Josh (@farwestchina) June 26, 2013
27 muertos en los disturbios de #Xinjiang, ha tenido que ser una carnicería via
ritaatudela</a>: <a href="http://t.co/Yf20xrY2Jp">http://t.co/Yf20xrY2Jp</a> <a href="http://t.co/tqa4uFOUd6">pic.twitter.com/tqa4uFOUd6</a></p>— Esperanza (calvoesperanza) June 26, 2013