Beijing, Feb 17 (IANS/EFE) Seven people were killed and as many injured when a man carried out a suicide bombing in Xinjiang province Friday, Radio Free Asia reported on its website Tuesday.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said during a press conference Tuesday that he was aware of the reports but declined to either confirm or deny them.

The broadcaster indicated that the incident took place Friday in Hotan prefecture, an impoverished region near China’s border with India and Pakistan.

Following the attack, the government imposed a complete media and internet blackout on the region, so additional details have not been disclosed, according to the website.

The man was from the Uighur ethnic minority.

The Chinese government attributes acts of violence in Xinjiang, an area inhabited by Muslim ethnicities like Uighurs related to peoples of Central Asia, to Islamic terrorist groups seeking to create an independent East Turkestan in the region.

Meanwhile, Uighur groups in exile claim that the clashes are a result of repression by the authorities, who are mostly comprised of China’s majority Han ethnicity, against their people.

About 200 people died in ethnic clashes last year in China, after tensions aggravated in 2009, when clashes in Xinjiang killed at least 200 people and wounded another 1,700.