Updated: 03/19/2014 11:57 | By Agence France-Presse

Xinjiang attacker who killed policeman shot dead

A man was shot dead after killing a policeman in China's restive far western region of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, the government said Wednesday.


Xinjiang attacker who killed policeman shot dead

Police stand guard in the Muslim quarter of Urumqi, Xinjiang region, June 29, 2013 - by Mark Ralston

The attacker, armed with unspecified "weapons", targeted the officer in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi on Monday, the ministry of public security said on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

The policeman was injured in the fight and died later, it said, while the assailant was shot dead by police reinforcements.

Urumqi's Communist Party-controlled news portal hongshannet.cn reported that the attacker was from Aksu prefecture, in the far west of Xinjiang near the border with Kyrgyzstan.

There were no other casualties, it added, citing the city's police authorities.

Beijing says it faces a violent separatist movement in Xinjiang driven by religious extremism, but critics accuse it of exaggerating that threat to justify hard-line measures.

Violent attacks by Uighurs are periodically reported in the region, usually targeting police or government officials and labelled by authorities as terrorist attacks.

The latest assault came after a group of allegedly Uighur attackers went on a stabbing spree at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming in Yunnan province on March 1, leaving 29 people dead and 143 injured.

Rights groups accuse the authorities of cultural and religious repression that feeds dissent, while China counters it has invested heavily in economic development in Xinjiang, which covers a sixth of the country's territory and is rich in natural resources.

The public security ministry identified the dead policeman, aged 29 and the father of a one-month-old boy, by his name in Chinese characters as "Wu Si Man Jiang". He had Uighur features according to a picture attached to the weibo posting.

US-funded Radio Free Asia also reported the incident and named the policeman as Osmanjan Ghoji, identifying the attacker as a Uighur, Ilyar Rehmutulla.

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