Chinese security forces have killed 28 suspects who allegedly carried out a deadly attack at a coal mine, leaving 16 people dead in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, local sources said on Friday.
The group found allegedly linked with the September 18 attack which took place at the Sogan colliery in Aksu, killing 16 people, including five police officers and injuring 18.
However, Radio Free Asia (RFA) claimed that more than 50 people including five police were killed in a knife attack at the colliery.
According to the official Xinjiang Daily, 28 suspects have been killed and 29 have surrendered after a 56-day hunt.
It is the first time authorities officially verified both the attack and the operation.
The newspaper said the suspects hid in the mountains so as not to be entrapped by authorities. However they could not escape the manhunt which was launched with the presence of more than 10,000 people from "various ethnic groups."
Leaders of the attacks were allegedly identified as Musa Tohniyaz and Mamat Aysa, according to a statement from Xinjiang government.
Xinjiang is home to China’s Muslim Uighur population, which complains about discrimination and China’s assimilation policies.
Chinese authorities deny all claims saying that Muslim Uighurs stand up and fight against the government forming organised crime syndicates.
But, right groups claim that the country avoids providing any confidential sources for its baseless claims.