A suicide car bomber rammed the gates of the Chinese embassy in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek yesterday, killing the attacker and wounding at least three other people.
Officials from both countries described the assault as a terrorist act, and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev ordered the government to take extra counter-terrorism measures in the capital and regions, his office said in statement.
China condemned the attack and urged Kyrgyz authorities to “quickly investigate and determine the real situation behind the incident.”
“China is deeply shocked by this and strongly condemns this violent and extreme act,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Hua said China strongly condemned the terrorist attack and said terrorism was “a public enemy of the international community,” as well as the most serious threat in the region.
The spokeswoman said China was ready to cooperate with Kyrgyzstan and other countries in the region to fight terrorism and maintain regional safety and stability.
Stressing that China opposes terrorism in any form, Hua said China would continue to ensure the safety of the Chinese people and institutions in other countries.
A Kyrgyz Interior Ministry spokesman said the car exploded inside the compound. Police cordoned off the embassy and adjacent area, and the GKNB state security service were investigating the bombing that occurred at about 10am.
Three embassy staff suffered minor injuries and had been taken to hospital, but no organization claimed responsibility.
At 9:32am, the explosive-laden van started ramming the embassy door and crashed into the compound. The driver immediately detonated the explosive device packed in the van, causing a powerful explosion.
“As a result of the explosion, only the suicide bomber terrorist died. Security guards were injured,” Kyrgyzstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov told reporters.
The wounded have suffered minor injuries, and are currently being treated at the hospital. The bomber was blown into pieces, and local police are trying to identify the assailant using DNA extracted from remains of the attacker.
The explosion also caused damage to the embassy’s east door and walls, as well as buildings next to the Chinese embassy.
The embassy compound and the area in the vicinity are currently under police blockade. Bomb disposal experts are working on the scene.
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan, a mostly Muslim former Soviet republic of 6 million people, routinely detain suspected militants linked to Islamic State, which actively recruits from Central Asia.
A Turkish official said in June that one of three Islamic State suicide bombers involved in the deadly attack on Istanbul’s main airport was a Kyrgyz national.
Attacks on Chinese missions abroad are rare but in 2015, an Islamist militant attack on a hotel in Mali killed three Chinese citizens, and in Pakistan, Chinese workers have occasionally been targeted by what police say are nationalists opposed to China’s plan to invest tens of billions of dollars in a new trade route to the Arabian Sea.