BEIJING: An attacker in China stabbed five people to death on Friday before being shot dead, authorities said, ruling out terrorism two weeks after 29 people were killed in a mass stabbing blamed on Xinjiang militants that stunned the nation.
A vendor in a market fatally attacked another during an argument, then stabbed four bystanders before officers killed him, police in Changsha in the central province of Hunan said on their verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.
Two of the bystanders died at the scene while the two others succumbed later in hospital, it added.
“I can assure you it’s not a terror attack. It happened in a market due to some dispute,” a Changsha official said.
The Hunan Evening News said the vendors came from China’s far-west Xinjiang region, home to China’s mainly Muslim Uighur minority, but their ethnicity was not confirmed.
It added that two people, including one woman, had been detained, while the official news agency Xinhua reported that a “group of knife-wielding assailants” were involved.
One victim was an elderly woman in her 80s who had just walked on to the street, a Hunan radio station reported.
The incident came after a group of attackers went on a stabbing spree at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming in Yunnan province on March 1, leaving 29 people dead and 143 injured in what domestic media have dubbed China’s “9/11.”
Four assailants—some wearing black with their faces covered—were shot dead at the scene. One woman was detained on site and three others were arrested separately.
Authorities condemned the event as terrorism and blamed it on militants from the restive Xinjiang region.