China captures 3 more suspects in station attack

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Associated Press

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 3 at 4:06 PM

BEIJING (AP) — Police have captured the three remaining suspects in a slashing rampage at a train station in southwestern China that killed 29 people, state media said Monday.

Authorities say the attack in Kunming city that also wounded 143 was carried out by separatists from the far-western region of Xinjiang.

Clashes in Xinjiang between authorities and ethnic Uighurs over the past year have left scores dead, but the assault Saturday evening occurred more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan province, which has not had a history of such unrest.

Citing a statement from the Ministry of Public Security, the official Xinhua News Agency said a "terrorist gang" of six men and two women led by a person identified as Abdurehim Kurban was responsible for the attack.

Xinhua said police shot and killed four of the attackers, who used knives to slash at crowds of people, and captured an injured female suspect at the scene.

The brief Xinhua report did not identify the ethnicity of the eight or say how the final three suspects were identified and captured.

Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE'-gur) population, and the government has responded there with heavy-handed security.

Another unprecedented attack attributed by authorities to Uighurs occurred last October in Beijing. Three assailants and two tourists were killed in the attack at Tiananmen Gate.

In Washington, the State Department said it did not have any independent information about the identity or the motivation of the attackers.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that based on information reported by Chinese media, the violence in Kunming "appears to be an act of terrorism targeting random members of the public." She said the U.S. deplores violence directed at innocent civilians, regardless of the cause.

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