Kunming railway station attack

Police name Kunming massacre 'mastermind' as three suspected attackers are arrested

Ministry says Abdurehim Kurban was among eight who went on deadly knife rampage

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 9:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 6:09pm

Police said last night they had identified the mastermind behind Saturday's deadly attack at Kunming train station and captured three more suspects.

Citing the Ministry of Public Security, Xinhua said a group of eight people was responsible for the attack, including the alleged leader it named as Abdurehim Kurban, and two women.

Four suspects died at the scene and one of the women suspects was wounded and captured.

The brief report did not mention whether Kurban was among those detained or dead.

In a rare move, some 2,000 delegates observed a minute's silence for the victims at the opening of the top political advisory body's annual session yesterday.

Watch: China pays tribute to Kunming dead

Many delegates condemned Saturday night's assault, which claimed the lives of 29 people and injured more than 130 others. Some delegates called for anti-terrorism legislation.

There have been only two other occasions when a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) observed a period of silence - for martyrs at its first annual meeting in 1949, and at the 1997 session after the death of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping .

"China so far only has directives on addressing terrorism, so I think it's necessary to draft an anti-terrorism law. [The Kunming incident] also shows that establishing the new national security committee is completely necessary," said Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo on the sidelines of the CPPCC opening yesterday.

The authorities have described the massacre as an organised terrorist attack by Xinjiang separatists. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday that flags from East Turkestani separatist forces were found on the ground.

A Uygur community in Kunming has seen a heavy police presence since the gory attack. Residents of Dashuying, a community in the eastern part of the city, said police and Swat teams had been stationed in the area since Saturday night.

The area was rumoured to be a secondary location of "terrorist" attacks, but this was later denied by police.

Yesterday, the atmosphere was tense but quiet in Dashuying, a poor neighbourhood with a large Uygur population eight kilometres from the train station.

Heavily armed police have been guarding entry points and checking people arriving and leaving.

Ten policemen carrying rifles entered a Uygur restaurant yesterday to conduct identity checks.

"We didn't wish for this attack to happen, but what can we do now?" said a Uygur restaurant manager. "In the past, even local government officials and tourists came here, but not anymore."