China's official news agency says unknown attackers murdered three
security officers in northwestern Xinjiang Tuesday, bringing the death
toll from recent violence to 31.
Xinhua reports the assailants
jumped off a vehicle passing through a checkpoint, attacked the
officers, and then escaped. A fourth security officer was wounded in
The report says the incident took place in Yamanya
town, which is home to many Muslims who are ethnic Uighurs. A spike in
violent attacks started shortly before the Olympic Games got underway
in Beijing last week.
Officials blame the attacks on militants seeking an independent East Turkestan homeland for Muslim Uighurs.
representative from the Germany-based World Uighur Congress told
reporters in an e-mail that China has recently detained more than 90
Muslim Uighurs in the region.
On Sunday, at least 11 people were
killed when attackers set off an explosion at a police station in the
city of Kuqa. Chinese authorities said assailants also targeted
supermarkets, hotels and government offices.
Days before the
Olympics began, attackers killed 16 policemen in the town of Kashgar.
The attackers rammed a truck into a group of policemen, then leapt from
the vehicle to lob explosives and stab them. Officials said two Uighur
men were responsible for that attack.
Chinese officials and regional analysts are playing down the possibility that the attacks pose any threat to the Olympics.
Uighurs have been waging a low-level rebellion against Chinese rule in
Xinjiang for years. Human rights advocates and Uighur groups say
Chinese authorities often use terrorism as a pretext to persecute the
country's Muslim minority.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.