BEIJING (Reuters) – A group of “mobsters” tried to set off an explosive device in a business district in China’s troubled western region of Xinjiang, prompting police to shoot six of them dead, the local government said on Monday.
Hundreds of people have been killed in resource-rich Xinjiang, strategically located on the borders of central Asia, in violence in the past two years between the Muslim Uighur people who call the region home and ethnic majority Han Chinese.
The government has also blamed attacks elsewhere in China, including Beijing, on militants from Xinjiang.
Monday’s incident came two months after 15 people were killed when a group threw explosives into a crowded street of vendors selling food in Xinjiang.
Police in Shule county, south of the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, had acted on a tip-off about “a suspicious person carrying an explosive device”, the Xinjiang government said on its official news website.
An axe-wielding individual tried to attack police officers and set off an explosive device, prompting the officers to shoot him, the government said.
The report added that police trying to dispose of an explosive device were attacked by five “thugs” who sought to detonate it, but did not make clear if this was a separate incident. Police killed the men, according to the government.
The report said there were no other casualties, but gave no details of the assailants.