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’.
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.’
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.