Two Henan villages where violent clashes between Han Chinese and minority Hui Muslim residents left at least seven dead and dozens injured last week were still under martial law yesterday. Local public security officials remained tight-lipped about the situation in the villages of Nanren and Nanweitan, but residents confirmed that armed police and soldiers remained on the streets. 'In the past four or five days you could see soldiers pretty much everywhere on the streets,' said a Hui Muslim from Nanren. 'Whenever you step out, you see a man in uniform.' A riot between the Han and Hui communities broke out in Zhongmou county, Zhengzhou , last Wednesday and raged for five days before local security authorities moved in to calm the situation. A Han Chinese and a Hui Muslim were involved in a traffic dispute, which led to a fight involving as many as 500 residents from the two villages. Most of the villagers injured had recovered and been sent home, a local hospital staff member said. The Foreign Ministry has sought to play down tension between the Han majority and minority groups. Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said it was an individual case, 'which should not be exaggerated into an ethnic problem'.