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Kindergarten Attack Probe Continues

The motives of the assailant who injured 28 children at a kindergarten in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, last Saturday remain unclear. Local police are continuing their investigation of the case.

Yang Guozhu, 41, entered the Xiaojianqiao Kindergarten in the city's Wuzhong District at 10:40 AM armed with a knife, some gasoline and homemade explosives, police said. He slashed the children, mostly in their heads, faces and necks, and was about to set the gas and explosives alight when police subdued him.

The children, several of them seriously injured, were sent to nearby hospitals. No fatalities were reported.

Witnesses say there were initially three assailants, but two escaped before police arrived on the scene.

Yang has three brothers, one of whom is in prison. He and the other two are awaiting trial, according to police. No information on the charges pending against them was provided.

Wang Huiying, who lives near the kindergarten, said that the three teachers present at the time of the attack were so terrified that they could not move. None of them has received any kind of safety training.

Some parents and witnesses said that more than 28 children were injured. Some have now been discharged from the hospital.

A parent surnamed Hu worried that the attack might have a lasting psychological impact on her child. "We feel better when the children are still in hospital," she said.

Xiaojianqiao Kindergarten is a private daycare center for children of migrant workers that has not yet been approved by the Suzhou Education Bureau. More than 50 children aged 3 to 6 are registered.

(China Daily September 14, 2004)

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