Death toll from Papua protests rises to 26

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JAKARTA: The death toll from violent protests in Indonesia’s restive Papua province has risen to 26 after several bodies were found under burned buildings, officials said.

An angry mob torched government buildings, shops and homes and set fire to vehicles in Papua province’s Wamena city on Monday in a protest by hundreds of people sparked by rumours that a teacher had insulted an indigenous student.

Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said yesterday that six more bodies were found in and around the burned-out wreckage of buildings engulfed in the fires set by rioters. Another 70 people were injured.National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said police were questioning 733 university students involved in another protest in Jayapura that left four dead.

Those protests were triggered by videos circulated on the Internet showing security forces calling Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs” in East Java’s Surabaya city when they stormed a dormitory where Papuan students were staying after a torn Indonesian flag was found in a sewer. Their protest turned violent on Monday as angry students attacked a soldier and several police officers with machetes and rocks, forcing security forces to respond with gunfire, killing three civilians.

 

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