The police have named four people as suspects in Tuesday’s deadly mob attack on a Biau Police precinct in Central Sulawesi province.
Seven people, all civilians, were shot dead in the clash.
“We have named four people as suspects in the attack on the Biau Police precinct because they incited the mob into a frenzy,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Iskandar Hasan said in Jakarta as quoted by Antara news agency on Thursday.
He said the four suspects were all Buol residents. The police also investigated the Biau Police precinct chief and his officers in handling the traffic accident involving a resident, Kasmir Timumun, whose subsequent death in police custody sparked the violence.
“We have conducted the investigation according to the standing procedure. If any police personnel are found guilty, the first thing we will do is to recall them to the provincial police headquarters to be investigated,” he said.
If the police personnel were involved in a criminal offense, they would be brought to justice, he said.
On Tuesday night, thousands of people flocked to the police office to protest Kasmir’s death. Police fired warning shots but the mob continued to attack the police office. Five people were killed at the scene while two others were later pronounced dead at hospital.
The National Police headquarters on Wednesday sent a team of investigators to Buol led by National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Jusuf Manggabarani.
Iskandar warned the people against being provoked further in order not to exacerbate the case.
“We thought conditions had returned to normal last night, but it appears arson and looting still took place,” he said.
Meanwhile, Buol community leader Ibrahim Turungku urged National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri to replace Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. M. Amin Saleh.
“The reason is the police did not follow proper procedure in dealing with the mob,” he was quoted by Antara as saying during a meeting with a police entourage from Jakarta led by Jusuf Manggabarani in Buol on Thursday.
Ibrahim demanded the resignation or dismissal of Buol Police chief Adj. Sn. Comr. Amin Lintarso, his deputy, Comr. Ali Kadir Nur, Traffic Police chief First Insp. Jeffry Pantouw and Biau Police chief First Insp. Muzakir Butudoka.
“They all should be held responsible for the tragedy that claimed the lives of seven Buol residents when the police fired live rounds,” he said.
Responding to the demand, Jusuf asked the people to take a cool-headed stance.
“Let’s approach it with a cool head,” he said, adding that the police were very concerned about the incident.
Jusuf also promised to take action against the police personnel, who fired the live rounds.
Meanwhile, military reinforcements arrived from the Makassar Wirabuana military command, which dispatched a company of soldiers to the scene.
“We will provide back-up for the police if needed to curb the situation in Buol,” Wirabuana chief Maj. Gen. Amril Amin said.
— Andi Hajramurni contributed to the story from Makassar