'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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'