More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China, drawing police fire, in what authorities called a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists based in the far west, state media said on Sunday. Thirty-three people were killed and 130 wounded.
Police fatally shot four of the assailants, arrested one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, Xinhua said.
The attackers, most of them dressed in black, stormed the train station and started attacking people on Saturday evening, according to witnesses.
Student Qiao Yunao was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying and running, and then saw a man slash another man’s neck, drawing blood.
“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”
Another witness, Yang Haifei, said he saw a person “come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone.” People who were slow to escape ended up severely injured, he told Xinhua.
One suspect was arrested, Xinhua said. Evidence found at the scene of the attack showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” the agency quoted the municipal government as saying. Authorities considered it to be “an organised, premeditated violent terrorist attack.”
Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday morning and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded and their families, Xinhua reported.
President Xi Jinping called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”
5 suspects shot dead
Authorities said five suspects were shot dead but that their identities had not yet been confirmed, and police were hunting for the remaining attackers, Xinhua reported. The news agency said 29 people described as civilians were confirmed dead and 130 injured.