Kunming Attack Called Terrorism: 29 Killed With Knives at Rail Station

Image: Kunming Attack Called Terrorism: 29 Killed With Knives at Rail Station

Monday, 03 Mar 2014 02:56 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Chinese police are calling a bloody attack at a railway station in Kunming on Saturday a planned terrorist attack, state-run Xinhua News Agency said, according to CNN.

Twenty-nine people were killed and another 130 were injured during the assault when 10 men with long knives overran the railway station before police arrived. Authorities killed four of the suspects and are looking for the others involved.

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The attack is being blamed on a Xinjiang separatist group from northwest China.

Lu Haiyan described the assault at the train station on Tencent Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

"Suddenly, many people started running around crazily," she said, CNN reported. "We saw two people carrying big cleavers hacking whoever is in the way. They almost got to my back. Then I lost contact with (my friend) and I saw blood splashing in front of me."

The attack highlights the increase of ethnic tensions in the Xinjiang region. Chinese authorities conducted a sweep in the Muslim Uighur district of Kunming after the attack, fraying relations in the area.

District residents told Reuters that police rounded up dozens of their neighbors after the assault for questioning.

"I alone have already been checked three times," said Aniwar Wuppur, an Uighur restaurant worker. "The police point their guns at us. We don't know what really happened."

The Uighur people dominate China's Xinjiang region but conflict has flared as they try to hold on to their cultural and religion against government restrictions.

China has been cracking down on suspects they believe want to turn Xinjiang into a breakaway state called East Turkestan, Reuters said.

Train departures from the Kunming rail station Saturday were not affected by the attack.

China has experienced similar public knife attacks in 2010 and 2012, but those did not appear to have political implications.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Xinhua that authorities will "investigate and solve the case and punish the terrorists in accordance with the law," reported CNN.

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