Armed paramilitary policemen patrol near the Kunming Railway Station in Kunming, in western China's Yunnan province Sunday after Saturday's attack. Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official says the eight suspects in a knife attack that killed 29 people at a train station over the weekend waged the assault after they were unable to leave the country to join a holy war.

State-run China National Radio says Qin Guangrong, the party chief of Yunnan province, made the remarks Tuesday while briefing the provincial delegation before the opening of China’s annual ceremonial legislature in Beijing.

Qin did not elaborate on the holy war.

Officials have said the attack Saturday in the southern city of Kunming was instigated by separatists from the far west region of Xinjiang, home to the ethnic Uighur minority.

Police fatally shot four of the suspects and have the other four in custody.