August 30, 2016 6:52 pm JST

Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan hit in suicide bombing

RYSKELDI SATKE, Contributing writer

BISHKEK -- A suicide bomber drove a car into the gates of China's embassy in the capital of Kyrgyzstan Tuesday morning, killing the driver and injuring three employees.

Kyrgyz authorities called it a "terrorist" attack. The injured, two of whom are security guards, are Kyrgyz nationals. There had been fears of a possible spillover effect from the conflict between ethnic Uighurs and Han migrants in the western province of Xinjiang in China. Kyrgyzstan is home to one of the largest Uighur communities in Central Asia.

State Security Service of the Kyrgyz Republic has launched a criminal investigation. Beijing is expected to comment on the attack in Bishkek later in the day.

Kyrgyz deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razzakov said: "As a result of the explosion, a suicide bomber has died. The security guards were injured. An investigative team is determining the identity of the suicide bomber." Razzakov said the ambassador was not in the embassy at the time of the blast.

Chinese security experts blame the Turkistan Islamic Party, formerly the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, for the violence in Xinjiang. China's pro-government news organization The Global Times claimed the group "had been strengthening management in Kyrgyzstan in recent years, recruiting younger members and tightening their hierarchy in a bid to influence Uighur groups that do not hold separatist tendencies."

Deirdre Tynan, Central Asia Project Director for the International Crisis Group, said: "The Kyrgyz security services will probably play a minimal role in the investigation and Beijing will oversee it. This incident though will impact the security debate in Central Asia -- and China's security role in the region which has to date been low key."

In February 2014, 11 Uighurs and one Kyrgyz citizen were killed in a shooting incident near the Kyrgyzstan-China border.

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

Resubscribe now to continue reading.
BEST OFFER:
Only US$ 9.99 per month for a full-year subscription

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.