China on Sunday blamed an unprecedented “terrorist attack” by knife-wielding assailants at a railway station that killed 33 people and injured over 130 on Islamist militants from the volatile Xinjiang province and described the slashing rampage as the country’s 9/11.
It was a macabre night at the crowded Kunming railway station, the city known for its serenity, when a group of black-clad knife and sword-wielding attackers, including two women, mowed down people at random, sending shock waves across the nation which prides itself in its watertight security.
Police fatally shot four attackers, including a woman, during the mass knife-attack which went on for 25 minutes in Kunming, the capital of southwest Yunnan province. They are searching for at least five more attackers.
Over 10 “terrorist suspects” were involved in the last night’s attack, while left 33 people, including 29 civilians, dead and over 130 injured. Most of the victims sustained head injuries as the militants went on the stabbing spree.
One more female suspect has been arrested and is being treated in hospital for unspecified injuries. Reports said Chinese police captured an injured woman militant who was reportedly being interrogated to get more details.
Evidence at the crime scene showed that the attack was orchestrated by separatist forces from Xinjiang, home to the mostly-Muslim Uygur minority, the municipal government of Kunming said today.
TV footage showed police recovering swords carried by some of the assailants.
Nothing justifies civilian slaughter in China’s “9-11″, state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on the last night’s dreadful attack.
“China was outraged and the world shocked after separatists from Xinjiang knifed down innocent civilians at a crowded train terminal in Kunming Saturday night,” it said.
“It was a typical terrorist attack and also a severe crime against humanity. It was China’s ‘9-11′”, it said.
It is the first time militants from the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from Xinjiang have been blamed for carrying out such a large-scale attack from
their remote homeland.
It follows an incident in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square in October which shook the country’s Communist leadership, forcing them to establish a state committee to
ensure national security.
The attack came ahead of the commencement of China’s Parliament beginning from tomorrow, an annual political season that lasts about a fortnight.
Observers said the attack is a shock to the Chinese government as the militants chose a soft target like Kunming, which is far from tightly secured capital Beijing.
The banned ETIM, an alleged al-Qaeda linked group, is fighting for the independence of Xinjiang province, which is endowed with natural resources, including oil.
Last year three members of a family, including two women, tried to carry out an attack at the Forbidden city near the Tiananmen Square where the Parliament holds its session continued…