Sumatra Clash Leaves Police Officer and Miner Dead

By : Farouk Arnaz | on 4:40 PM October 02, 2013
Category : News

A police officer and at least one miner died on Tuesday in a clash between police and illegal gold miners in the Sumatran province of Jambi.

"One of our personnel died in the incident," said Cmr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, head of the National Police's security department.

The clash, Badrodin said, began when a platoon of some 30 police officers, supported by an unknown number of soldiers, began clearing illegal gold miners from the banks of the Batangasai river in the Limun subdistrict. Prospectors often dig holes along the riverbank and extract small quantities of gold from the sediment, although the practice is prohibited by law.

Badrodin identified the officer as Brig. Marto Fernandus Hutagalung, 25, who died of his injuries after the miners threw stones at him.

Earlier in the day, a miner who had been arrested died. Police said he escaped custody and fell into a mining pit, but rumors circulated among the miners that he had died as a result of police torture.

The rumors incited the riot, during which miners threw stones at police and attacked a patrol car, killing Brig. Marto and setting fire to the vehicle. A second, unoccupied police car was also set on fire during the riots.

Indonesian news portal Kompas.com reported that a second miner had died, from a gunshot wound to the head during the clash, but police were unable to confirm.

 

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