An ethnic minority Uyghur suspect stabbed a police officer to death and seriously wounded another in northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang region after he was allegedly tortured during interrogations, local police said.
The attack occurred at the Ishkul township police station in Yarkand (in Chinese, Shache) county in Kashgar prefecture last Friday, police officers at the station told RFA’s Uyghur Service.
Police officer Tao Yuanjiang died on the spot while station chief Ding Feng was serious injured in the attack by the unidentified suspect after his second interrogation in a week, they said.
“The two officers were attacked by a suspect who is from Karakum village while he was leaving the police station,” an officer said.
“Ding Feng is still in a county hospital and has not recovered. We are not aware of his current situation.”
Local government officials said the suspect has been arrested while unconfirmed reports said he has been shot dead.
Osman Eli, the chief of Karakum village, said the violence occurred after the suspect was summoned by police for the second time within a week.
“He was released the first time because they could not find any criminal records on him,” Eli told RFA.
“I heard from his family that he was tortured during the first interrogation. So I assume that he attacked the police rather than risk being called for another interrogation and torture,” he said.
“I guess the police did not give him a full-body security check based on the result of the first interrogation,” Eli said. “It was sudden and the police were taken by surprise.”
Suspect's fate not confirmed
A security officer in the township government said the suspect had been taken to the Yarkand county police department.
“I heard that the suspect was taken to the county police department after the incident but I’m not sure whether he was taken alive or dead,” security officer Adil Rozi told RFA.
In a separate attack, five police officers were killed in a predawn attack on Friday at a security checkpoint in southwestern Hotan prefecture, police had told RFA at the weekend.
Unknown assailants had stabbed two police officers guarding the checkpoint in Qaraqash (in Chinese, Moyu) county and then set fire to a room in the building where three police officers were taking a nap, police said.
The Qaraqash attack stemmed from government harassment of Uyghur women wearing headscarves and men with beards, according to residents.
The violence followed several high-profile attacks blamed on militants in Xinjiang, the traditional home of the Uyghurs, who complain they have long suffered ethnic discrimination, oppressive religious controls, and continued poverty and joblessness.
Xinjiang authorities declared a one-year crackdown on “violent terrorist activities” last month following the May 22 bombing at a market in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi that killed 43 people, including the four attackers.
Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Shohret Hoshur. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.