'Violent terror attack' at busy Chinese train station by knife-wielding assailants leaves 33 dead, 143 injured

'Dressed all in black', over 10 stabbed and slashed at random. Four of the attackers, including one woman, was shot dead by police at the scene

Over 10 knife-wielding assailants stormed through a railway station in south-west China on Saturday, killing 29 and injuring 143, in what officials said was a terrorist attack by ethnic separatists from the far west of the country.

Four of the group were shot dead by police and a fifth was captured after the group stabbed and slashed people at random late on Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province. The remainder are being searched for.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping promised a harsh response to the attack, saying “all-out efforts” are being exerted to “severely punish in accordance with the law the violent terrorists and resolutely crack down on those who have been swollen with arrogance.”

The country’s top police official Meng Jianzhu arrived in the city early on Sunday and officers have been rounding up members of the city's small Uighur community, believed to number no more than several dozen, for questioning about the attack and assailants.

Eyewitnesses said the attackers were dressed all in black and were wielding long knives. State broadcaster CCTV said at least two of the attackers were women - one of the dead and the captured one, who was later taken to a hospital for treatment.

The attackers' identities have not been confirmed, but the municipal government said evidence at the scene showed that it was “ a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Graphic photographs surfacing on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, showed a row of bloody bodies on the station concourse and at the Kunming No 1 hospital.

Qiao Yunao, a 16-year-old student, was waiting for a train at the station when the attack happened. He said he saw people crying out and running, and then a man cut 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. “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.”

The Security Management Bureau, under the Ministry of Public Security, said the attack was a “severe violent crime” in its own message on Sina Weibo, adding: “No matter what motives the murderers hold, the killing of innocent people is against kindness and justice. The police will crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Police officers patrol outside the railway station after the attack Police officers patrol outside the railway station after the attack There is a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur population in Xinjiang province, located in the extreme west of China where the country borders central Asia. The government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Clashes between Uighurs and members of China's ethnic Han majority are frequent in Xinjiang, Saturday's attack however happened more than 620 miles to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

The assault was the deadliest incident attributed to Uighur-Han conflict since 2009, when a Uighur mob first attacked and killed Han people, included women and children, at random on the streets of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. A few days later, Han vigilante mobs attacked Uighurs in the same city. In total, nearly 200 people died.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

DT Design and Technology Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

Maths Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on