HONG KONG: Chinese police have arrested seven people suspected of being linked to a deadly stabbing spree and explosion at a railway station in the restive Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, state media said Saturday.
On April 30, the last day of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the region, attackers armed with knives and explosives carried out an attack at the southern railway station in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi, killing one person and wounding 79.
Two of the alleged assailants were also killed in the attack.
"Seven fleeing suspects were captured on May 14 by police in Xinjiang, and are being questioned in relation to the ongoing investigation," the official Global Times daily reported in its Chinese edition Saturday.
Police had earlier identified one of the suspected attackers, Sedirdin Sawut, 39, originally from the south of Xinjiang.
Two of Sawut's brothers, together with his wife and one of his cousins, were among those arrested, according to the report.
The seven suspects arrested by police this week were found "on a farm of the town of Changji, in the district of Jimsar, not far from Urumqi," the Global Times added.
Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia, is a vast semi-desert region rich in natural resources, where the mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking Uighurs are the main ethnic group.
It has been the site of a marked increase in violence over the past year, which Beijing has blamed on separatists and Muslim fundamentalists.
Although millions of China's Han majority have flocked to Xinjiang in recent decades, the Uighurs claim they are harassed by the authorities, forgotten by the economic boom, and victims of severe political repression of their religion and culture.