Chinese police have killed 28 “foreign terrorists” responsible for killing 16 people in an attack on a Xinjiang coal mine. Only one of the 29 suspects was arrested.

The Sept. 18 coal mine attack, though reported by some foreign media, was kept under tight wraps by the government. Chinese police performed a 56-day operation to hunt the suspects down.

It was U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia which first reported the mine attack in September, the BBC reported. According to the RFA, at least 50 people were killed in the attack.

The Chinese government is often accused of strictly controlling the state media. "The mainstream media in mainland China basically receive orders from the propaganda ministry of the central government, and from propaganda departments at lower levels of government, on a daily basis," journalist Li Xin told RFA.

According to a statement of the publicity department of Xinjiang, a group of armed mobsters attacked a coal mine in Baicheng county of Aksu prefecture and killed 11 civilians, two para-police members and three policemen while injuring 18 others, Tianshan Net reported.

Hundreds of people died in Xinjiang, a home for Uighur ethnic minorities, over the past three years. The community, mostly consisting of Muslims, believes the violence is a result of the government’s efforts to repress their cultural and religious customs.

The Chinese government says Islamist separatists pose serious threat for the country. "China must continue to fight against this kind of terrorist attack with determination, to protect the lives of the people, protect the stability and safety of society," ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

According to The Xinjiang Daily, two people with Uighur names led a foreign group, which launched the coal mine attack. "Members of this foreign extremist group transmitted orders to the gang many times and demanded pledges of loyalty," Reuters quoted the newspaper as reporting.

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