Beijing: Four people were killed and eight others injured after they were attacked with knives by unknown assailants in China`s troubled Xinjiang province, coinciding with the once-in-a-decade leadership changes here.
The attack at Korla, the centre of Xinjiang`s oil industry resulted in the death of four people and injuries to eight yesterday, officials said.
A suspect had been arrested, regional spokeswoman Hou Hanmin was quoted as saying by BBC today but she could not confirm the ethnicity of the suspects or the victims.
Few details were revealed about the incident with one report saying several attackers were involved.
Some reports suggest they were from the Uyghur ethnic minority, but these could not be independently verified.
The attack comes as China`s leaders meet at the National People`s Congress, in the final stage of the country`s once-in-a-decade leadership change.
The attack happened a day after local officials admitted that the situation in the volatile Muslim Uygur province was "tough" and that the region`s separatist forces were influenced by Arab Spring revolts that swept several Arab countries.
Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is experiencing a major conflict between nine million Uygurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority and Han Chinese settlers whose numbers have now grown to over 40 per cent of the population of the province which the Uygurs resent.
In July 2009, ethnic riots broke out in the capital city of Urumqi, leaving nearly 200 people dead and 1,700 injured.
Dozens have been killed in brutal violence unleashed by militants of the banned East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
In June last year, six persons tried to hijack a plane that had taken off from Hotan in the far-western province but were thwarted by passengers and crew.