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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indonesia Police Say Killing Not Linked to 'Subversion'

BANJARMASIN, Indonesia -- Indonesian police have said last week's riot and arson that ended with more than 130 dead in the Kalimantan city of Banjarmasin were not acts of subversion, the official Antara news agency reported Monday.


Banjarmasin police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Kusbini Imbar was quoted by Antara as saying 106 people questioned by police over the incident remained in custody.


"There is no indication, however, that the riot was an act of subversion," Imbar said.


The riot began Friday as supporters of the Moslem-oriented United Development Party began to harass people on their way to a rally of the ruling Golkar party on the final day of Indonesia's violence-plagued election campaign.


Government and party officials have suggested the riot was engineered by an unnamed "third party."


The local Dinamika Berita daily said the death toll had reached 142 and quoted officials as saying the remains of at least 136 people had been found in the gutted Mitra Plaza shopping center after it caught fire following arson and looting.


Some shops reopened Monday, but several streets remained closed as troops and police remained on guard prior to Thursday's general election.


"They are scared to reopen as they think that something might happen again," one resident said.


Dinamika Berita said the bodies found inside the shopping complex were badly charred and appeared to be almost exclusively male.


Officials had said all the shop assistants, most of whom were female, were sent home soon after riots started in the early afternoon.


Authorities have said that the victims, who entered the building and set it alight after dark when the city was blacked out, were all looters trapped by the flames after they stayed in the building when riot police and troops began to patrol the streets.