News – 11 Indonesian police arrested over riot deaths

INDONESIAN police said today they had arrested 11 colleagues over the killing of six people when officers opened fire on a violent mob earlier this week.

The arrests came as hundreds of armed police reinforcements fanned out in Buol town, Central Sulawesi province, to try to re-establish order after a riot on Wednesday, officials said.

The 11 officers were arrested on Thursday and Friday as part of ongoing investigations into the violence, which saw hundreds of furious residents attack a police station with Molotov cocktails after a man died in custody.

Provincial police spokesman Kahar Muzakir said the officers were being questioned over the death of the detainee at the station on Tuesday as well as the killing of six rioters outside the station on Wednesday night.

Police officers and their families had to be evacuated from the town Thursday for their own safety, amid reports that gangs of angry locals were roaming the streets attacking officers’ houses and vehicles.

Muzakir said security had been restored as more than 500 police reinforcements arrived from other regions, including heavily armed Mobile Brigade paramilitary forces from Jakarta.

“There are no sweeping operations by locals anymore. Today’s situation is more conducive to security,” he said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the situation verged on anarchy and scolded Central Sulawesi Governor Banjela Paliudju and Buol district chief Amran Batalipu for failing to ensure security.

“If the apparatus was functioning properly in the region, this would not be happening,” Mr Yudhoyono said.

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