An armed attack by alleged ‘separatists’ has been carried out at Chinese coal mine.
The Sogan Colliery, located in the north western Uyghur Autonomous region, saw approximately seven people attack the operation, armed with knives, according to Radio Free Asia.
The attack is believed to have resulted in at least 40 casualties, and the deaths of five police officers.
It began at 3 am on the 18th of September, at the mine’s gate and then spread to the rest of the site.
The attack started at security gate of the colliery, which was watched by some 20 security guards at the time,” Jamal Esya, the head of security at a nearby mine, stated.
“The residence of the colliery owner was the second target and, at the end, [the suspects] attacked police as they approached the area to control the situation.
“At least 40 people were killed or injured, including police officers, security guards, mine owners and managers, and attackers.”
It is understood that it was a relatively large scale attack, planned over time, with the suspects believed to be from local farms.
Fears escalated during the attack, over concerns that the separatists had taken control of the mine’s explosives.
“That is why they were able to do such severe damage to our police team and to the Han businessman and factory owners,” Esya said.
Reports coming from the region indicate that the attackers notified police of the incident, and then ambushed them when they arrived on site.
“I know that five of 10 police officers were killed at the scene and the rest of them were transferred to the hospital in Bay county, but I don’t know how many of the attackers were killed or injured,” one witness said.