CHINA> Regional
Blasts rock Xinjiang, guard killed
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-08-11 09:14

A string of bomb attacks hit Kuqa county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region Sunday, killing one security guard and injuring several civilians, the regional government said.

The attacks against a range of government facilities saw eight bombers killed by police. Two suicide bombers, too, were killed, officials said.

At least 15 people and 12 blasts from gas-powered pipe bombs were involved.

Security was tightened yesterday in Kuqa while police are investigating the attacks, authorities said.

The county, with a population of 400,000 and about 740 km from the regional capital of Urumqi, was cordoned off and all institutions and enterprises have been closed, local police said.

The latest explosions come after two terrorists killed 16 cops with homemade bombs in Kashgar, Xinjiang, on Aug 4.

Yesterday's attacks began at about 2:30 am, when a three-wheeled vehicle carrying explosives drove into the yard of the county's public security bureau, a regional government spokesman said.

A shopkeeper said the first blast took place nearby when about 20 people were having cold drinks in front of his shop at the intersection of Jiefang and Wenhuazhonglu roads.

"Suddenly, there was a big bang, the customers and myself ran away," said the shopkeeper, who did not want to give his name.

"When I looked back, my shop was totally destroyed by the blast."

The doors and windows of several buildings close by were reportedly destroyed while a number of residents were evacuated to a nearby school.

Police reportedly shot dead at least one of the bombers and captured another at the scene. They also seized a taxi used in the attacks.

There were 15 people involved in the attacks, the bomber captured from the initial blast at the public security bureau told police.

No impact on Games

Beijing Games organizers slammed the bombings yesterday, saying the separatist attacks would have no impact on the ongoing Olympics.

East Turkistan separatist forces have never stopped their secessionist activities in Xinjiang, said Wang Wei, spokesman for the Beijing organizing committee of the Games (BOCOG).

"Such activities are not allowed in any country," Wang said at a press conference jointly held by BOCOG and the International Olympic Committee.

"It's possible they intended to use the Beijing Games as a platform to amplify the effects of their secessionist activities," Wang said.

"But the primary motive was to secede."

He said terrorist activities had existed in Xinjiang for "some time" and the recent attacks were not immediately related to the Beijing Games.

"I don't think these will have any impact on the Beijing Olympics. But of course, we'll tighten security in the region," he added.