A “terror attack” struck a county in China’s restive region of Xinjiang on Wednesday, local authorities said, killing five people including the four attackers.

In a short statement on its main news website, the Xinjiang government said the attack occurred just before 5 pm local time (9 am GMT) on 28 December in Karakax county, deep in southern Xinjiang’s Uighur heartland, according to Reuters. “At present, the local social order is stable,” the government said.

The four “rioters” drove up to a local party office in Moyu County and “detonated (an) explosive device”, killing one person and injuring three others, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement from the local authorities. The four assailants were then “shot dead by police”, Xinhua added, without specifying whether they were killed on the spot or later in the day.

The brief report described the assault as a “terrorist attack”.

Beijing has blamed Uygur separatists in the past for staging violent attacks in Xinjiang, where the mostly Muslim Uyghurs have complained of repressive policies adopted by Beijing.Hundreds have died in Xinjiang in recent years, which the government claims is the result of unrest caused by Islamist militants and separatists. But rights groups argue that the violence is a reaction to China’s harsh policies.

China blames the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for the unrest, but many experts doubt whether ETIM exists as a cohesive militant group.

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