A train station in the southwest China city of Kunming descended into chaos on Saturday night when an unidentified group of people carrying knives descended on a train station and began stabbing people. At least 27 people were killed, while an additional 109 were injured, in the attack at the Kunming Railway Station, located in the capital of Yunnan province, reports China’s official Xinhua News Agency. “It was an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack, according to the authorities,” reports the Chinese state news agency. Reports are spotty and international wire services largely quote Xinhua as the main source of information. The attack took place mere days before the annual meeting of parliament, which opens Wednesday and is generally accompanied by more security across the country.
Reports by a local television station claim police shot dead a number of the attackers, reports AFP. Photos began circulating on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, which reportedly show bodies on the ground of the train station covered in blood. (A selection of graphic photographs have been posted on LiveLeak.) Although the motive of the attack is not clear, the Associated Press points out that “China has seen a number of mass stabbings and other attacks carried out by people bearing grudges against society.” Reuters also points out that 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.”