Updated: 03/02/2014 02:46 | By Agence France-Presse

Deadly China rail station stabbings a 'terrorist attack': state media

A mass stabbing at a Chinese train station late Saturday which left 27 people dead and 109 injured was a "violent terrorist attack", state media said.

Deadly China rail station stabbings a 'terrorist attack': state media

Passengers prepare to board a train at a railway station in Beijing on January 23, 2014 - by Wang Zhao

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

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

The incident "was an organized, 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.

A victim named Yang Haifei, who was wounded in the chest and back, told Xinhua that he had been buying a train ticket when the attackers approached and he had tried to escape with the crowd. 

"I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," he said, while others "simply fell on the ground". 

Some who had escaped were desperately looking for missing loved ones. 

"I can't find my husband, and his phone went unanswered," Yang Ziqing was quoted by Xinhua as saying. 

She said she had been waiting for her train to Shanghai "when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them".

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

The attackers 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 station floor and medical staff crouching over bodies lying on the ground, although the authenticity of the images could not be verified. 

The photos showed crowds gathered outside among police officers and ambulances. The injured had been delivered to hospitals around the city, K6 reported.

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 to oversee its handling, 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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