34 fatally slashed, 130 injured in rampage at Chinese rail station
BEIJING — More than 10 knife-wielding attackers slashed people at a train station in southwestern China on late Saturday in what authorities called a terrorist attack by Uighur separatists.
Police fatally shot five of the assailants, leaving 34 people dead and 130 others injured, state media said.
Most of them dressed in black, the attackers stormed the Kunming Train Station in Yunnan Province and started assaulting people in the late evening, witness Yang Haifei told the official Xinhua News Agency in an interview from a hospital, where he was being treated for chest and back wounds.
“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife, and I ran away with everyone,” he said, noting that people who were slower ended up severely injured. “They just fell on the ground.”
Evidence found at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” the municipal government said. Xinhua said authorities considered it “an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack.”
At a guard pavilion in front of the train station, three victims were crying. One of them, Yang Ziqing, said they were waiting for a train to Shanghai when a knife-wielding man suddenly charged at them.
“My two town-fellows' husbands have been rushed to hospital, but I can't find my husband, and his phone went unanswered!” Yang sobbed.
Footage in China's state broadcaster CCTV showed a heavy police presence near the station and plainclothes agents wrapping a long knife in a plastic bag as investigators collected evidence of the attacks.
Pictures on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, showed bodies covered in blood at the station.
The Associated Press was unable to independently verify the report.
Opposing China's rule, separatists in the far western region of Xinjiang continue a simmering rebellion among parts of the Muslim Uighur population.
Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists occur in Xinjiang, but the assault on Saturday took place more than 620 miles to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.
A suicide car attack blamed on Uighur separatists — in which five people were killed at Beijing's Tiananmen Gate in November — raised alarms that militants might be aiming to strike at targets elsewhere in China.
The country's top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, was en route to Kunming, said the Communist Party-run People's Daily.