At least 33 people have been killed and more than 130 wounded in a mass stabbing at a Chinese railway station.
According to Chinese state media, the “organised and premeditated” attack at Kunming train station in the country’s southwestern Yunnan province was carried out by separatists from the volatile Xinjiang province in the far west.
Reports from the city suggest a group of people armed with knives entered the train station at about 9pm local time on Saturday and attacked travellers with knives indiscriminately.
Photos on Chinese social media show horrific scenes with blooded bodies and luggage strewn across the station concourse.
One local resident, Yang Haifei, told China’s Xinhua news agency he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back.
Mr Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people, most dressed in black, rush into the station and start their attack.
“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said.
Unconfirmed reports suggest police shot and killed some of the attackers and detained others.
Chinese police are not routinely armed which may explain why the perpetrators were able to attack so many people before being stopped.
According to eyewitness reports seen by Sky News, there is tension across Kunming amid concern that further attacks may be planned at other locations in the city.
Train stations in Chinese cities are vast and usually extremely busy.
The Kunming city government said the attack was orchestrated by ethnic separatists from Xinjiang, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Extreme elements of the Muslim population who live there have carried out attacks in the past – most recently in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last year.
The Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang believe their freedoms, culture and religion are being eroded and severely restricted by the Chinese authorities.
Xinjiang, 2,500 miles to the north of Saturday’s attack, has experienced repeated outbreaks of violence but the Chinese authorities have largely managed to contain the violence.