BEIJING (TIP): At least 50 people were knifed to death last month inside a coal mine in the restive Xinjiang province, reported US-based Radio Free Asia on Thursday – an attack suspected to have been carried out by Uighur separatists who are known to use knife for terror attacks.

Radio Free Asia said the number of people killed in the September 18 attack at the Sogan colliery in Aksu had reached 50, with most casualties being members of the Han Chinese majority. The news came as the country marked 60 years since the establishment of what it calls the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

Radio Free Asia, citing its own sources, said that the attackers first “rammed their vehicles using trucks loaded down with coal”, while trying to block the entry of police personnel, who rushed to the scene. “Nearly all workers who were on the shift at the time were killed or injured,” police officer Ekber Hashim told RFA. “Some workers were sleeping while others were preparing to work when the attackers raided the building after killing the security guards.”

Beijing’s concerns about Pakistan’s Taliban backing Xinjiang separatists features regularly in discussions between the two countries. A Communist Party official in charge of religious groups and ethnic minorities, Yu Zhengsheng, warned local authorities not to rest on their laurels because the threat from terrorists was severe.

“We must fully recognize that Xinjiang faces a very serious situation in maintaining long-term social stability, and we must make a serious crackdown on violent terror activities the focal point of our struggle,” Yu said. Meanwhile, three more explosions rocked China’s Guangxi province, killing one more person on Oct 1.

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