Skip to main content

Clashes, rioting in Indonesia over death of man in jail

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Rumors spread that police tortured detainee to death
  • Police open fire on angry crowd in Sulawesi
  • Mobs ransack police buildings
  • Indonesia
  • Civil Unrest

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- The death of a man in police custody has led to deadly riots in Indonesia, police said on Thursday.

The unrest, in the town of Buol in central Sulawesi, started over what police say were rumors that a man arrested on Monday had been tortured to death.

Police late Tuesday and early Wednesday opened fire on an angry crowd when hundreds of residents attacked a local police station.

Six people died and 22 were injured in the clashes between residents and police, and mobs ransacked a police dormitory and houses.

Police spokesman Marwoto Soeto said the man was arrested for hitting a policeman and that police are investigating the cause of his death.

"The rumors spread among the locals that the prisoner died after being tortured by the police," he said. "This ignites the tension."

Local police officers and their families have been evacuated to prevent more casualties.

"The police are negotiating with the local village chief to solve the problem now," the spokesman said.