Two men who reportedly tried to hijack a plane in the Chinese region of Xinjiang on Friday have died in hospital, the Global Times reports.The two died from “injuries received in a fight with passengers and crew during the attempted hijacking of a Tianjin Airlines’ flight,” the state newspaper reported Sunday. Two other hijackers are in hospital after apparently mutilating themselves.
A total of six men reportedly attempted to hijack the plane after it left from the Xinjiang city of Hotan on Friday, AFP reports. The men attempted to use a crutch to gain access to the cockpit, but were beaten back by passengers and crew.
Government spokespeople confirmed that the attackers were Uighurs — an ethnic group linked to central Asian communities that claim they are repressed by Chinese authorities. Unrest is common in the Xinijiang region, and the attack on Friday appeared to be tied to the third year anniversary of inter-racial riots in the capital of Urumqi.
The exiled World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has called the official version of events a lie, and said that a fight broke out between the outnumbered Uighurs and Han Chinese over a seating dispute on the plane, according to the AFP.
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