Only one death in riots, says Abri

THE Indonesian military yesterday said that the three days of intense rioting in Medan had resulted in one death, denying reports that six people had died so far.

“There is no truth of many people having died in the riots,” armed forces (Abri) spokesman Wahab Mokodongan told reporters.

He said that initial investigations revealed that only one person had died – a 13-year-old boy who suffocated in a burning shop set alight by rioters on Wednesday.

Conflicting reports are emerging on the actual number of casualties from the violence. Abri chief General Wiranto earlier denied there were any fatalities.

The Medan daily Waspada, however, said that four people had died when they were trapped in a burning store which was torched by looters on Wednesday.

Another was killed in the riots, the paper said without elaborating.

Witnesses told AFP that a teenage boy was shot in the head in a motorbike chase by a security officer as he tried to flee.

Waspada had said that some 80 people were hurt by rubber bullets. But BG Mokodongan said this figure was “way too high” and that “only two people sustained serious injuries”.

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