Chinese security forces have killed more than two dozen members of “terrorist group” linked to a deadly assault on a coal mine in the country’s troubled western region of Xinjiang.
The Xinjiang regional government’s Tianshan web portal reported that the 28 individuals had been killed over a 56-day manhunt in the wake of a September 18 attack on Sogan coal mine in Baicheng County. One “thug” also surrendered after the operation, according to the website.
Around 16 people were killed in the assault. The assailants reportedly targeted security guards, the mine owner’s house, as well as a workers’ dormitory.
On Wednesday, police forces killed 17 people who were accused of involvement in the attack against Sogan mine. Three men believed to have been the ringleaders of the act of terror were among those gunned down on Wednesday.
Chinese state media published rare pictures on November 14 that purportedly showed the scenes of a 56-day mission by armed police to root out “terrorists” in Xinjiang. Some of the photos, which had been provided by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, were later removed from the internet.
Over the past three years, hundreds of people have either lost their lives or been arrested due to violent attacks and unrest in Xinjiang region and other parts of China. Chinese authorities have vowed to intensify operations against what they term as “violent terrorists.”
Human rights groups allege that China has carried out a heavy-handed crackdown on ethnic minority groups in the Turkic-speaking Xinjiang region. Critics also claim that Beijing’s measures have created an atmosphere of repression in the in autonomous territory, and caused more violence.
Beijing, however, vehemently denies abusing human rights in Xinjiang, emphasizing it is facing a terror campaign from radicals and separatists.