BEIJING - Weekend violence in China’s restive Xinjiang region left as many as 15 people dead, including three killed during or after a bombing attack yesterday afternoon and four attackers shot to death an hour later by Chinese security forces, according to official news agency accounts and residents.
Yesterday’s violence followed a melee reported late Saturday, when two bombs exploded and two assailants reportedly hijacked a truck, stabbing the driver and ramming the vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians, killing seven people and injuring 22. The crowd reportedly killed one of the hijackers.
The violence occurred in the border town of Kashgar, the old Silk Road city near the border with Tajikistan.
Details were still emerging, but security officials blamed the upsurge of violence on “rioters,’’ the term often used for Xinjiang’s Muslim Uigher separatists who have staged mostly low-level attacks against the Chinese government.
In one of the most brazen of those attacks, assailants stormed a police station July 18 in the city of Hotan and took hostages, killing four people before police in turn killed 14 of the attackers. Uigher exile groups dispute that account.
Residents in telephone interviews and in postings on microblogging sites reported that Kashgar was under a strict curfew last night.