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Separatists blamed for China knife attack

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People light up candles and pray for the victims on a square outside the Kunming Railway Station where more than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives the night before in Kunming, in western China's Yunnan province, Sunday.

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KUNMING, China — Authorities today blamed a slashing rampage that killed 29 people and wounded 143 at a train station in southern China on separatists from the country’s far west, while local residents said government crackdowns had taken their toll on the alleged culprits.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants — putting the overall death toll at 33 — and captured another after the attack late Saturday in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Authorities were searching for at least five more attackers.

State broadcaster CCTV said two of the assailants were women, including one of the slain and the one detained.

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua said.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur population, and the government has responded there with heavy-handed security.

Police in Kunming on Sunday were rounding up members of the city’s small Uighur community, believed to number no more than several dozen, for questioning in the attack and for information about the assailants.

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