Beijing: An explosion outside a primary school in China killed two people and injured at least 34 others today, 26 of them schoolchildren, state-run media and a local official said.
The blast in Guilin, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south, occurred as a man riding a motorcycle passed the school gate while children were arriving for classes, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.
“First, the motorcycle caught fire and then exploded with a tremendous noise that could be heard from far, far away,” a witness told Xinhua.
The cause of the explosion was not clear.
A man and a woman were killed immediately and 34 of the injured, including 26 pupils and two infants, were taken to a military hospital hospital in Guilin, Xinhua said. Five of them were in critical condition, it added.
It was not known if the motorcyclist was among the casualties.
Other victims were taken to other hospitals, it said, and exact casualties were still to be determined.
Pictures posted online showed the mangled remains of a tricycle on the ground and a motorcycle in flames outside the school, while several people sat on the ground bleeding.
A local official in Lingchaun County, where the explosion occurred, confirmed the death toll to AFP without offering further details.
Police in Guilin have begun a search for illegal explosives in the city, Xinhua said.
Posters on China’s popular weibo microblog sites were outraged.
“Keep asking why the harmonious society is not harmonious, and address the fundamental problems,” said one.
Another added: “Why is it always aimed at children? Can’t we do something to stop violence?”
China has been hit by a number of attacks on schoolchildren in recent years, including a spate of five incidents in 2010 that killed 15 children and two adults and wounded more than 80.
Most such incidents involve knife attacks. But a man injured himself when he set off a homemade bomb at Beijing’s international airport in July, in a protest at police brutality. Reports said that a 2005 police beating had left him paralysed.