Six persons were stabbed to death and the fleeing assailant shot dead by the police in a deadly knife attack in the central Chinese town of Changsha on Friday morning.
State media said that a dispute between two Uyghur vendors led to a slashing spree in a busy market in the central Chinese city of Changsha.
It led to one of the persons involved in the fight randomly stabbing passers-by, spreading panic and chaos in the area.
“A knife fight broke out between businessmen Hebir Turdi and Memet Abla at around 10.15am at Shahuqiao Market in northern Changsha City, the provincial capital,” the official news agency Xinhua said in a report on Friday evening.
Abla was hacked to death by Turdi, who later stabbed 4 passersby as he ran away. Police shot Turdi, killing him, the Xinhua report said.
Two of the passersby died at the scene. Two others died in hospital.
While the 2 involved in the fight are evidently Muslim Uyghurs, authorities did not identify the remaining victims.
Barely two weeks ago, a group of knife-wielding assailants attacked a railway station in the southern Chinese city of Kunming, leaving 29 civilians dead and over 140 injured. The death toll rose after security personnel shot dead 5 of the attackers.
Following Friday’s attack, Chinese websites and social media networks were buzzing with stories that it was another terror attack.
Bloody and graphic photographs posted on China’s Twitter-like social media network showed bodies lying on the street.
Police had cordoned off the site of the crime and blocked roads and streets leading to it. Guoqing Primary School nearby has been closed and students are not allowed to leave the campus
But an unnamed official in Changsha told AFP news agency: "I can assure you it's not a terror attack. It happened in a market due to some dispute."
The incident was being investigated, Changsha police said in a statement on their verified microblog.
The official account of the incident however changed dramatically between noon and evening.
“A group of knife-wielding assailants attacked civilians on Friday morning on a street in Changsha City, capital of central China's Hunan Province, according to local authorities,” was how state run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday about the incident.
The Chinese government had blamed separatists from the restive far western region of Xinjiang for the attack, indicating that the Muslim Uyghur community was linked to the attack.