Earlier today, a suicide car bomber rammed his way into the Chinese embassy compound in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and blew his vehicle up, killing himself and injuring three workers.
According to The Guardian, Kyrgyzstan’s deputy prime minister, Jenish Razakov, said that the three injured workers were Kyrgyz nationals working as security guards at the compound.
The AFP learned from police sources that the car successfully smashed through the embassy’s main gate and exploded at the center of the compound, near the ambassador’s residence.
China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China was deeply shocked by the “extreme and violent attack.”
“We are demanding that Kyrgyzstan find out the truth rapidly and punish [those responsible],” she said at a Beijing press conference.
The Chinese embassy is located in an isolated compound outside of downtown Bishkek, so it is very likely that the attack was targeted at China.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it’s likely that the blame will fall on Uighur militants. Kyrgyzstan shares its eastern border with China’s restive Xinjiang region, where Chinese authorities have recently been cracking down hard on the separatist activities of the local Uighur minority group.
Uighurs make up over 40% of the population of Xinjiang, as well as around 1% of Kyrgyzstan’s population. Along with attacks in Xinjiang, Uigur militants have been blamed for a deadly knife attack at the Kunming Railway Station in 2014 and a deadly bombing in Bangkok last year. In its fight against Uighur separatists, Beijing has killed dozens and jailed hundreds, but critics believe that China’s heavy-handed crackdown is doing more harm than good, breeding resentment and causing attacks to spread abroad.
With the G20 summit set to start in Hangzhou very soon, China already has terrorism on the mind. Last week, SCMP reported that Guangzhou police had told local hostels to turn away tourists from five Muslim countries — Kyrgyzstan not being one of them. Meanwhile, authorities are just as concerned about terrorists within their borders, shuttering some restaurants in the city run by Uighurs.
Watch a video of the aftermath of the blast below:
[Images via NetEase // Video via YouTube]