MOSCOW — A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the Chinese Embassy’s compound in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, on Tuesday morning, wounding three Kyrgyz staff members, according to local officials.
The attacker rammed the gates of the embassy with a Mitsubishi Delica that exploded about 160 feet into the compound. The driver died at the scene.
Kyrgyzstan’s government, in a statement, called the attack “a terrorist act.” The statement said that the government would discuss enhanced security measures ahead of the national holiday on Wednesday, which will celebrate 25 years of independence from what was then the Soviet Union.
In Beijing, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that three members of its embassy’s staff had been wounded.
The state security service in Kyrgyzstan has begun an investigation, in an effort to identify the bomber. According to preliminary data, he was a Uighur, a Turkic ethnic group, living in Eastern and Central Asia, the local news website K-News reported.
Uighur separatists in the Xinjiang region of far western China have called for the government in Beijing to recognize their independence and to stop suppressing their culture, language, and religious traditions. Beijing has said that it offers the Uighurs a wide range of freedoms, including economic development, and it calls the separatists terrorists.
In 2014, border guards in Kyrgyzstan killed 11 people believed to be from a Uighur militant group that had illegally crossed China’s border.