Investigators check the site of a series of blasts at a damaged building in Liucheng county in Liuzhou in south China’s Guangxi province on September 30, 2015. Three people were killed on September 30 by multiple explosions in southern China, state media said, with local reports saying that the blasts occurred in 13 locations including government offices. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO / STRSTR/AFP/Getty Images
BEIJING — More than a dozen explosions targeting public buildings in a small city in southern China killed at least seven people and injured over 50 on Wednesday, officials and state media said.
The Ministry of Public Security said it was treating the case as a criminal act, and not terrorism. It said a 33-year-old local man, identified only by his family name of Wei, was considered a suspect, but provided no further details, including a possible motive or whether the man had been detained.
A local Communist Party newspaper, the Guangxi Daily, cited police as saying there were 17 explosions in Liucheng county, leaving seven people dead, two missing and 51 injured. The paper also said the suspect had not been apprehended.
“There were so many of them, and they were so loud, everyone in the county could hear them,” said a hotel employee who gave only his family name, Li. The hotel is near a township office building that was hit by one of the explosions.
“They sounded like someone was blasting rocks in the mountains,” Li said.
The explosions, which occurred between 3:15 p.m. and 5 p.m., hit a hospital, local markets, a shopping mall, a bus station and several government buildings, including a jail and dormitories for government workers, according to a police statement posted by the local newspaper Nanguo Zaobao.
Zhou Changqing, the police chief for the city of Liuzhou, which has jurisdiction over Liucheng, said the blasts were triggered by explosive devices delivered in several mail packages, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
A supermarket employee said the store was evacuated immediately when an adjacent supermarket was hit by an explosion.
“All of us heard the blast. It was very loud,” he said by phone.
They sounded like someone was blasting rocks in the mountains
Photos posted online showed streets filled with smoke, strewn debris, dust clouds in the sky and the rubble from a five-story building that had partially collapsed.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that at least one more explosion hit downtown Liuzhou, away from Liucheng county. It did not say whether there were any casualties from that blast or whether it was connected to the ones in Liucheng.