BEIJING  - Six people died in explosions and another six were shot dead by police in China’s Xinjiang, authorities said Saturday, in the latest wave of violence to hit the restive region. The violence in Xinhe in Aksu prefecture in China’s far west appears to be linked to triple explosions that rocked the same area on Friday evening, which authorities said resulted in three deaths.

It is unclear if the three deaths reported Friday are included in the latest tally of 12 fatalities.

“As police were dealing with violent incidents a mob threw explosives,” with six people killed by police, five arrested and another six killed as they “committed the offence”, the Tianshan news portal, which is run by the local government, said Saturday.

Xinhe is an area located at China’s extreme west, on its border with Kyrgyzstan and populated predominantly by members of the country’s Uighur minority.

Tianshan reported late Friday that triple explosions killed three people and wounded two others in the same area of the largely Muslim region.

One person was killed after two blasts in a hairdressing salon and market, while two others died inside a car which “self exploded” when surrounded by police, Tianshan said.

The vast western region has for years been hit by sporadic unrest by predominantly Muslim Uighurs, which rights groups say is driven by cultural oppression, intrusive security measures and immigration by Han Chinese.

In recent months it has seen more regular violent incidents, usually involving men armed with knives and explosives, according to official media.

Beijing attributes the unrest to religious extremists and separatism.

The most serious recent violent incident took place in the Turpan area of Xinjiang, leaving at least 35 people dead in June.