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Six wounded in knife attack at Chinese train station: police

06 may 2014, 13:49
0

Six people were wounded in a knife attack at a Chinese train station Tuesday, police said, after a string of violent episodes at transport hubs authorities blame on "terrorists" from the restive region of Xinjiang, AFP reports.

Police shot one of the attackers at the station in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, the city's public security bureau said in a statement on its microblog, adding that all six injured had been hospitalised.

Four attackers were involved, the People's Daily newspaper reported on its verified microblog, adding they were wearing white caps -- often donned by Muslims -- and police opened fire on them after they ignored warnings.

One of the men died, one was arrested, and two escaped, said the newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party.

The incident comes less than a week after a stabbing spree and explosion at the opposite end of the country left two attackers and a civilian dead, and 79 people wounded, at a railway station in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

The blast came as Chinese President Xi Jinping was wrapping up an "inspection tour" of the volatile region, during which he called for a "strike-first" strategy to fight terrorism.

"The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," Xi said in comments published last week by China's official Xinhua news agency.

Tuesday's incident also follows a March attack at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, where machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China have dubbed the country's "9/11".

Authorities blamed both the Kunming and Urumqi incidents on separatists from Xinjiang, who they say are linked to overseas terror networks.

'Machetes half a metre long'

The latest attack took place just as a train was arriving at the station from Kunming, the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

The paper cited eyewitnesses saying several young men wearing white clothing and hats began slashing at the train's passengers just as they were leaving the station.

The men were wielding machetes "about half a metre long", the report said.

Photos of the aftermath of the attack circulated widely on Chinese social media sites, with many users expressing shock and outrage.

One image on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, showed a man -- his shirt stained with blood -- being carried from the station by three men as passers-by watched.

Another showed a crowd of hundreds gathered outside the station's main square, which was cordoned off by police as emergency personnel loaded people into an ambulance.

"Guangzhou has become really unsafe!" one Weibo user wrote. "Next time I see someone wearing a white hat, I'm heading the other way."

Another user posted: "We have daily security checks, and the result is still that these kinds of incidents don't stop happening."

According to the Voice of China radio station, one of the attackers chopped a victim in the neck. At least two of the victims were women, it added.

Mass violent incidents in China are rare but have been on the rise in recent months.

In October, three family members from Xinjiang died when they drove a car into crowds of tourists at Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart of the Chinese state, killing two before the vehicle burst into flames, according to authorities.


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