Three knife-wielding assailants were shot dead by police following an attack that killed five people and injured another five in China’s far-western, restive region of Xinjiang.
The government of Hotan prefecture confirmed in a short statement that an attack had taken place on Tuesday evening in Pishan county. Authorities added that “social order” had been restored following the incident perpetrated by three “thugs.”
No motive or any other information was given regarding the attack — which is not unusual when it comes to Xinjiang.
China has blamed Uighur separatist groups for regular episodes of violence in the region, sometimes cracking down on militants with deadly force. However, in recent years, rather than contain the conflict, China’s efforts seem to have caused it to spread outside of the region’s borders to Beijing, Kunming, Bangkok and Kyrgyzstan.
Meanwhile, international observers have laid the blame for unrest among Muslim Uighurs at the feet of the government itself. In recent years, Uighurs have complained about a number of measures that they say discriminate against their religion by cracking down religious holidays, customs, and even long beards. In 2015, Uighur shopkeepers were urged to sell alcohol and cigarettes, or else be shut down.
Last November, the government even went so far as to demand that all residents of Xinjiang hand in their passports to local police stations for “examination and management,” in an attempt to prevent more Uighur militants from fleeing the country.