31 killed, 94 hurt as explosions rock China’s Xinjiang
At least 31 people were killed and 94 injured after explosions rocked a busy market area in Urumqi the capital of the far-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) on Thursday morning.
According to initial state media reports, two vehicles ploughed into people in the open market just before 8am this morning. Explosives were then thrown out of the vehicles.
The restive region is home to the Muslim Uyghur community, members of which have been linked by the Chinese government for several attacks – including the recent knife attacks in Kunming and the railway station explosion in Urumqi – carried out in recent months.
The explosions happened in the Renmin park area off Urumqi, which is in the heart of the crowded city with government offices located in nearby areas.
“Witnesses said two cross-country vehicles driving from north to south ploughed into people in the market at 7:50 a.m. Explosives were thrown out of the vehicles. One of the vehicles exploded in the market,” Xinhua, the official news agency, said in the report.
“The open air morning market is located near the Renmin Park in downtown Urumqi. Ambulance and police cars are parking at the entrance of Park North Street leading to the market,” the report said.
It added that flames and heavy smoke were seen. On Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, members uploaded photographs showing blood splattered streets and bodies lying on them unattended. Smoke was seen bellowing over bu ildings.
The government is yet to blame any organisation for the explosions though from the state media report, it seemed that the attack and the subsequent explosions were deliberately carried out.
The government has recently blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement for fomenting separatism and carrying out attacks in the region.
State media reports said that the ETIM, listed by the United Nations Security Council as a terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the Tiananmen attack in October in which five people were killed and 40 others injured.