A coordinated assault by at least ten people at the Kunming Train Station has left more than 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police reportedly killed four of the attackers and arrested another, while five others remain at large.
At 9:20pm Saturday night, ten men described by witnesses as clothed in black and wearing ski masks, began stabbing people near a ticket counter in the station. Both police officers and civilians were targeted. As of this writing, conflicting reports in the Chinese and foreign press claim between 29 and 33 people were killed and at least 130 injured.
Police shot four of the attackers dead as bystanders crowded into train station shops seeking safety. SWAT teams called to the scene cordoned off streets around the downtown railway depot, including a large section of Beijing Lu. Many of the injured were transported by ambulance to nearby hospitals. Five of the attackers remain unaccounted for, having eluded law enforcement for the time being.
As the attack was unfolding Chinese microblogging services WeChat and Weibo erupted with gruesome photos taken by eyewitnesses. These have now largely been expunged from the internet. People also took to Weibo to conjecture the attack was a terrorist undertaking carried out by people from Xinjiang in northwest China.
Although no group has publicly claimed responsibility, state-run media has characterized the massacre as an "organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack". Xinhua has also published an article stating: "Evidence at the crime scene showed that the Kunming Railway Station terrorist attack was carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces." No corroborating details have yet been released.
Hours after the attack, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a statement extending his condolences to victims of the assault and their families. He also said the Ministry of Public Security would carry out a "serious crackdown on violent crime", while dispatching Meng Jianzhu (孟建柱), China's top law enforcement official, to Kunming to supervise an investigation.