Police in China have shot dead three knife-wielding assailants who killed five people and injured 10 people in China’s restive far western Xinjiang region, where the country’s Uighur ethnic minority lives.
The incident took place Tuesday evening in the southern Xinjiang Pishan County, local authorities announced on Wednesday, without elaborating on the ethnic backgrounds of the attackers and the victims.
The authorities further described the assailants as “thugs” and said that “social order” had been restored in the area and an investigation been launched into the incident.
Members of the Uighur community in China are predominantly Muslim and speak Turkish, which is distinct from the Chinese-speaking Han national majority.
Beijing often accuses what it describes as exiled Uighur separatist groups of planning attacks in the massive, resource-rich region. Some foreign-based Uighurs claim Beijing is cracking down on the ethnic minority.
Last month, Chinese police killed three “rioters” after a manhunt for suspected members of a “violent terror group” linked to a 2015 attack in Pishan County, according to the regional government’s official website.
In November 2015, police killed 28 members of a “terrorist group” over the course of a 56-day manhunt after an attack on a colliery in Aksu two months earlier, which killed 16 people.
In March 2014, 31 people were hacked to death at a train station in Kunming in southwestern China. Four attackers were killed by police. China then blamed “Xinjiang separatists” for the attack, which state media dubbed “China’s 9/11.”