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27 dead, 109 injured in Kunming railway station attack

Police patrol on a street after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police patrol on a street after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police investigate after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 1, 2014. The Chinese government has blamed the brazen knife attack in south-western Kunming on Xinjiang's Uighur separatists and obser
Police investigate after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 1, 2014. The Chinese government has blamed the brazen knife attack in south-western Kunming on Xinjiang's Uighur separatists and observers say it is the first time the restive region's violence has spilled into heartland China. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Chinese police investigators inspect the scene of an attack at the railway station in Kunming, south-west China's Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Chinese police investigators inspect the scene of an attack at the railway station in Kunming, south-west China's Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Police stand near luggages left at the ticket office after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police stand near luggages left at the ticket office after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Chinese police investigators inspect the scene of an attack outside the railway station in Kunming, south-west China's Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Chinese police investigators inspect the scene of an attack outside the railway station in Kunming, south-west China's Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Chinese police investigators inspect the scene of an attack at the railway station in Kunming, south-west China's Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Chinese police investigators inspect the scene of an attack at the railway station in Kunming, south-west China's Yunnan province, on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

KUNMING (AFP, REUTERS) - Unidentified armed men reportedly stormed a railway station in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, yesterday, leaving 27 dead and at least 109 injured, reports said.

State television said on its official microblog that the incident had been deemed a "violent terror attack".

Victims described knife-wielding attackers dressed in black bursting into Kunming railway station and slashing indiscriminately.

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Beijing's top security official was reported to be heading to the scene.

The incident "was an organised, premeditated violent terrorist attack" carried out by "unidentified knife-wielding people", the official news agency Xinhua said, citing authorities.

Police shot dead a number of the perpetrators at the train station in southwestern Yunnan province, according to posts by local television station K6 on its official Sina Weibo account, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Officers sealed off a wide area around the station, it added, while Xinhua said they were still questioning people at the site.

Meanwhile ambulances had delivered the injured to hospitals around the city, K6 reported.

The attackers carried knives and were dressed in similar black clothing, the official China News Service said, citing eyewitnesses.

"A group of men carrying weapons burst into the train station plaza and the ticket hall, stabbing whoever they saw," it said.

Photos posted on Sina Weibo showed blood spattered across the floor and medical staff crouching over bodies lying on the ground, although the authenticity of the images could not be verified.

Crowds gathered outside the station among police officers and ambulances, the images also showed.

State broadcaster CCTV also called the incident a "terrorist attack" on its Weibo account.

China's top security official Meng Jianzhu would travel to Kunming, it said, while President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang sent condolences to the victims and their families.

Yunnan has no history of violent attacks, and the motive for the stabbings was not immediately clear.

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