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Knife attack at south China station

media captionMartin Patience describes how the attack unfolded.

At least six people have been injured in a knife attack at a station in Guangzhou, Chinese officials say.

It is unclear how many people were involved in the attack, but one person was shot and then detained by police.

There is no information yet on the motivation for this attack, but it comes a week after an attack at a station in Urumqi, in the western region in Xinjiang.

It also follows an attack at Kunming station in March that killed 29 people.

Chinese authorities have blamed both these attacks on separatists from the Uighur minority group, which lives in Xinjiang.

image copyrightAFP
image captionSecurity personnel cordoned off the plaza outside Guangzhou railway station, where bloodstains were seen
image copyrightAFP
image captionPassengers were evacuated from the railway station following the attack
image copyrightAFP
image captionChinese SWAT team members were immediately posted outside the station

Local media carried conflicting accounts on the number of people involved in Tuesday's attack, with some reporting four attackers, while others said there were two young men, one of whom managed to get away.

It was also unclear how the incident started. Guangzhou Daily quoted a store owner who said the suspects had waited by his shop for about two hours before they launched their attack.

But several eyewitnesses told Guangzhou Journal that the attack began shortly after a train from Kunming arrived at the station. They said that among the disembarking passengers was a group of young men clad in white clothes and wearing white caps, holding large knives.

China News spoke to a woman from Inner Mongolia who was among those attacked.

Ms Liu Yuying had just arrived at Guangzhou railway station and was taking pictures in the plaza outside when two men rushed towards them wielding knives. She injured her leg when she fell while trying to flee.

Two other people from her tour group, believed to be brother and sister, were slashed, she said.

In a statement on the public security bureau's official microblog, police said they arrived at the station at 11:30 on Tuesday.

They shot a male suspect armed with a knife after he failed to heed warnings, they said.

The six injured people had been taken to hospital for further treatment, they said, and further investigations were underway.

This is the third attack on a public transport hub in China in three months. Officials say Uighur extremists from the Xinjiang region carried out the attacks in Urumqi and Kunming.

Xinjiang has seen a long history of discord between Chinese authorities and the minority Uighurs, including bloody ethnic riots in 2009 that left about 200 people dead.

The Uighurs, who are ethnically Turkic Muslims, say that large-scale Han Chinese immigration has eroded their traditional culture. Beijing, meanwhile, says it has invested heavily in the region to improve people's lives.

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