Acting on a tip-off, the police tried to confront the suspects in Shule county, south of the old Silk Road city of Kashgar city, when the incident took place, the Xinjiang government said on its official news website. An axe-wielding suspect tried to attack police officers while another tried to set off an explosive device. The police acted quickly and shot dead all six of them, it said.
The police or the civilians in the area suffered no injuries. Police officers later found a minibus with explosive devices parked near the place of the incident.
The incident came about two months after 15 people were killed when a group threw explosives into a crowded street of vendors selling food in Xinjiang. The province is witness to repeated clashes between security forces and separatists demanding an independent Xinjiang East Turkestan nation.
Police action against the separatists is often criticized by exiled Uighur Muslim groups and human rights activists, who accuse the government of using repressive policies in Xinjiang. Beijing denies the charges saying the police is engaged in a grim battle against separatists.