September 02, 2010
Palu, Indonesia. Police officers and their families are being evacuated to prevent further violence after a riot on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi left six people dead, a top police official said on Thursday.
Hundreds of people in the town of Buol, in Central Sulawesi province, attacked a police station with petrol bombs and stones on Wednesday after a man died in custody.
Officers opened fire on the mob, killing six people and injuring dozens more, but the unrest did not abate, police said.
“Until late evening, locals continued to sweep the town in search for our personnel,” National Police Deputy Chief Comr. Gen. Yusuf Manggabarani told reporters.
Officers’ houses were burnt in the disturbances, the state-run Antara news agency reported.
“We have evacuated our members and their family to safety,” Manggabarani said.
“We will withdraw our local officers involved in the clash. If they are still there, it will be difficult for locals to stay calm.”
Manggabarani said more than 100 replacements from the Brimob paramilitary police headquarters in Jakarta will arrive on Thursday.
Around 300 police reinforcements were sent to the area on Wednesday, according to Antara.
Police spokesman Iskandar Hasan said Wednesday the shootings were under investigation and “firm action” would be taken against any officer proven to have violated procedures.
“They have to take responsibility for every single bullet they used,” he said.