Reuters reports that six people have been arrested for allegedly taking part in a clash that killed 16 in the restive Chinese region of Xinjiang on Sunday.
The regional government claims that police were ambushed by a mob armed with knives and explosive devices as officers attempted to carry out an arrest in the city of Kashgar. The authorities have labeled the incident “an organized, premeditated, violent terror attack.”
Two officers died in the clash, while police reportedly shot dead 14 people. Reuters has not been able to verify the story independently.
Rights groups have long castigated China for restricting the local Uighur population’s freedoms.
“They are now opening fire and killing people, then calling them terrorists,” exiled Uighur activist Dilxat Raxit told the Associated Press over phone. “This deprives them of their right to defend themselves in a court.”
After a car crashed into a crowd of tourists on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in October, in what may have been a suicide attack carried out by Uighur separatists, China has beefed up security in the province.