Above: Police have cordoned off Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province, one of the busiest in China in a city of six million people, after a gang of knife-wielding 'terror' attackers stabbed dozens of people..
Chinese authorities say two WOMEN were part of knife-wielding terror gang which left at least 33 dead and 143 wounded after attacking a train station in China
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Distressing photos show bodies and blood
- Some of savage attackers were female, according to state TV reports
- One woman attacker was shot by police, another captured and hospitalised
- 'Terrorist' rampage at was at Kunming station in Yunnan province
- Local sources say there were at least 10 attackers, many still on the run
- Authorities say it was an 'organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack'
- Online descriptions of the violence were deleted by government censors
- Chinese government has blamed militants from western region of Xinjiang
Two of the knife-wielding attackers who killed 29 people and injured 143 in a frenzied attack at a Chinese railway station yesterday were women, according to state TV.
The attackers, four of whom were killed by armed police, launched the horrific attack at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province at around 9pm local time yesterday.
Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor in the wake of what authorities termed an 'organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack'.
Above: Horror Photos shared on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo showed bodies strewn across the floor
Above: Distressing: Photos circulated widely on the internet showed a line-up of bodies on the station floor surrounded by medical equipment. The majority of the photos are too graphic to publish
Above: Carnage: The attack was described as a 'violent terror attack' by state television
Above: One of the reported attackers who was shot dead by police in the standoff in south west China
Above: Medics were still treating people in the station hours after the attack, said a Chinese news agency
Above: A communist party official visits some of the victims of the horrific attack
Above: State TV in China today reported that two of the attackers were women
Above: Authorities swoop in after the mass stabbing yesterday
Above: Authorities branded the incident a 'violent terrorist attack'
It is believed that more than 10 people took part in the attack. As well as the four who were shot yesterday, one was taken alive. The rest are still being hunted.
According to CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, at least two of the attackers were female. One was killed by police and the other was the woman who was captured. She has been taken to hospital for treatment.
The death toll stands at 29 bystanders and four attackers who were shot dead by police.
Witnesses described assailants dressed in black charging through station, slashing indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.
Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was at the station and witnessed the carnage.
She said: 'I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge.'
'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.'
Today armed police were patrolling the railway station afternoon, which was open for business again.
Cleaners had begun disinfecting and cleaning the area while floral tributes were laid by passers by.
One, who laid a bunch of yellow lilies and gave her name only as Guo, said: 'This is to express our condolences for the victims and to show we have no fear in the face of violence.'
Above: Armed police could be seen outside the station today in the wake of the attack
Above: Chinese authorities blamed separatist groups for the mass stabbing
Above: Travel bags surrounded by blood lie strewn across then floor of the terminal, protected by police
Above: A victim of the attack at the First People's Hosptial of Kunming (left) and strewn baggage (right)
Above: A woman talks tearfully on the phone outside the station. The city is said to be in a state of shock
Above: A boy with a victim of the attack in hospital. More than 100 people were injured and 28 killed
Above: The attack was at the main railway station for Kunming in south west China, the capital of Yunnan province which has more than six million inhabitants. It handles up to 75,000 passengers a day
The Chinese authorities have blamed the attack on militants from the remote far western region of Xinjiang, which is home to tensions between the government and Muslim separatists.
The state news agency Xinhua, quoting local government sources, said: 'Evidence at the crime scene showed that the Kunming Railway Station terrorist attack was carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces.'
The Xinjiang region borders Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and the Chinese government has blamed several attacks on militants there.
The region is home to a large Muslim Uighur minority who are angry at the treatment of their beliefs by the authorities.
Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists have taken place in Xinjiang itself, but the train station was more than 620 miles away.
Above: Police investigate after the attack at Kunming railway station
This is the first time Uighurs have been blamed for an attack so large and far from their home. A suicide attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in October was also blamed on the group by authorities.
China denies suggestions by exiles and human rights groups that the unrest is driven more by unhappiness at government policies than by any serious threat from extremist groups, who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.
Police shot dead four of the unidentified attackers and were searching for around five others, according to state media.
Several suspects were contained by police and the station and surrounding roads were cordoned off.
Medics were still treating people and taking them to hospital hours after the attack, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, which provided the number of people killed and injured.
An earlier estimate of 162 injuries which was reported by state media was reduced.
The death toll makes the attack one of the deadliest in recent Chinese history.
Above: Officers cordoned off the area around the station and reportedly shot four attackers dead
Above: Initial figures suggested 162 people were injured, though this was later revised downwards
Xinhua said a group of men was involved but did not provide more details and the attackers were not identified. Kunming city police did not have immediate information to release.
Resident Yang Haifei told Xinhua he was buying a ticket in the station when he saw a group of people rush into the station, many of them dressed in black, and start attacking people.
'I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,' he told the news agency, adding some people 'just fell on the ground'.
Another crying victim outside the station told the news agency: 'I can't find my husband, and his phone went unanswered.'
Local TV station K6 said several of the attackers were shot by police and that victims were being transported to local hospitals.
The men were wearing uniforms when they stormed the railway station and gunshots were heard after police responded, another state news organisation said.
Domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu, one of China's top politicians, was reportedly travelling tonight to the scene in downtown Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan province which has more than six million citizens.
Above: A witness said people ran in all directions and the slower ones were caught and hacked to death
Above: Security is already heightened in China ahead of an annual meeting of Parliament on Wednesday
The station is one of the largest in south west China and opened in 1958, with up to 75,000 passengers a day passing through it.
Many posts describing the attack on the Chinese Twitter-like micro-blogging site Weibo, where photos of the carnage were first posted, were reportedly deleted by government censors.
Reuters reported the quickest posts to be scrubbed were those that described the attackers, two of whom were identified by some as women.
Others condemned the attack.
One user wrote: 'No matter who, for whatever reason, or of what race, chose somewhere so crowded as a train station, and made innocent people their target - they are evil and they should go to hell.'
A woman staying at a hotel near the station told the South China Morning Post she was terrified to leave.
'Our guests who walked passed the train station told us not to leave the hotel because the situation is dangerous,' she said.
'We dare not leave the hotel right now. There are many police outside. We just fear that not all the attackers have been caught.'
Above: Hundreds of police officers and medics descended on the busy station after the attack at about 9pm local time
Above: Police have been trying to establish why the gang of men burst into the station
However, China has seen a number of mass stabbings and other attacks carried out by people bearing grudges against society.
SERIES OF KNIFE ATTACKS IN CHINA
The attack is the latest and one of the most deadly in a series of mass stabbings in the last few years.
A catalogue of random attacks, many of them on schools, began in 2010 and culminated in the massacre of 22 children and an elderly woman outside a primary school in Henan province in December 2012.
The attack was followed by one last June by gangs armed with knifes who set upon a police station and local government building in western China.
While some of the stabbings are by murderers acting alone, others are said to be lashing out against the Chinese state.
In June last year at least 27 people were killed after gangs armed with knives attacked a police station and a local government building in a remote region of western China.
Mobs in the Xinjiang region, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, were said to have set upon buildings in the township of Lukqun at around 6am, stabbing people and setting fire to police cars.
The attack comes at a particularly sensitive time as China gears up for the annual meeting of parliament, which opens in Beijing on Wednesday and is normally accompanied by a tightening of security across the country.
China has blamed similar incidents on Islamist extremists operating in the restive far western region of Xinjiang, though such attacks have generally been limited to Xinjiang itself.
There is unrest among many Uighurs at restrictions laid down by the Chinese authorities on their culture and religion.
Above: Four knifemen - including the one in the background - were shot dead by police and more were held
Above: Police, firefighters, paramedics and shocked citizens gathered near the station
Above: Police have cordoned off Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province, one of the busiest in China in a city of six million people, after a gang of knife-wielding 'terror' attackers stabbed dozens of people
Hu Xijin, the editor of the influential Global Times newspaper, said it was important not to allow a 'vacuum' in which groups could be unfairly blamed for the train station attack.
'If it was Xinjiang seperatists, it needs to be announced promptly, as hearsay should not be allowed to fill the vacuum,' he wrote.
The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily.
The Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security called the incident a 'severe violent crime'.
'No matter what motives the murderers hold, the killing of innocent people is against kindness and justice,' it said.
'The police will crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance. May the dead rest in peace'.
Photos shared on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo showed bodies strewn across the floor
“...Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor in the wake of what authorities termed an 'organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack'....."