Three guards killed in China

Kuqa, August 12:

Knife-wielding assailants attacked a road checkpoint in China’s troubled far-west today, killing three and taking the death toll to more than 30 from a surge in violence that has coincided with the Beijing Olympics, officials said.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said an unknown number of attackers jumped from a vehicle at a road checkpoint in Yamanya town in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang territory at about 9 am and stabbed four guards, three of whom died.

An officer who answered the telephone at Yamanya town’s police post confirmed the three deaths in the attack, though he said it occurred several hours earlier. The officer, who gave his name as Tu’ersenjiang, said the officers were local government employees who were taking down the names of people who passed through the checkpoint. They were not members of the police or military.

“The case is still under investigation,” Tu’ersenjiang said.

On Sunday, militants tossed homemade bombs at police and other government buildings in the Xinjiang city of Kuqa, then fought with police. Twelve people died, officials said. Six days earlier, assailants rammed a truck into a group of border police then attacked them with knives and homemade bombs in Kashgar, a city near the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, though government officials have suggested terrorism is behind the violence and insist it is not linked to the Olympics.