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Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 12:16 UK

Chinese police shoot Uighurs dead

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Chinese police have shot dead five alleged Muslim militants in the north-western region of Xinjiang, reports state news agency Xinhua.

It said police had raided an apartment in the regional capital, Urumqi.

Officers opened fire when some of the group of 15 Uighur Muslims inside - armed with knives - tried to escape.

Uighur separatists in Xinjiang have waged a low-level campaign against Chinese rule for decades.

A police spokesman said that when officers surrounded the apartment, they found themselves facing 15 knife-wielding Uighurs shouting "sacrifice for Allah", Xinhua said.

CHINA'S UIGHURS
Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991
Uighurs worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture

The five women and 10 men threatened to "perish together" with the police when they found themselves cornered.

Two of the group were reported to have been injured in the raid.

The remaining eight people in the apartment were arrested.

The agency cited an unnamed police spokesman as saying the suspects had confessed that they had been trained to prosecute a "holy war" against Chinese Han people, and wanted to establish their own Uighur state.

China has accused some groups of plotting terrorist attacks at the Olympics, but campaigners have said the government is exaggerating the threat.


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