Police in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in northwestern China said Tuesday that they had arrested six people linked to the clash between security forces and alleged terrorists that resulted in 16 deaths over the weekend.

Officers confiscated explosive devices, homemade firearms and machetes, the official Tianshan.net Web site, which is linked to the regional government, reported.

The Sunday attack occurred in the village of Sayibage near Kashgar, the cultural center for the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, as police were conducting searches to locate an alleged terrorist leader named Hasan Ismail, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said.

About 20 members of Ismail's band attacked a police patrol with bombs and machetes and knives, killing two officers, after which police reinforcements were sent to the scene, opened fire on the attackers when they refused to surrender and killed 14 of them.

According to Xinhua, the band, which was formed in August, "had promoted religious extremism and prepared explosives and firearms to commit terrorist attacks."

Clashes between Chinese security forces and armed groups have become very frequent in the unstable region since August 2008, when 16 people died in the first of those incidents in Kashgar four days before the beginning of the Beijing Olympic Games. EFE