June 10, 1997 in Nation/World

Savage Riots May Have Killed 4,000

Compiled From Wire Services
 

Some 4,000 people died in riots earlier this year in a remote Indonesian province - and some were decapitated or had their hearts torn out - The Independent newspaper reported Monday

The report, based on estimates from local Roman Catholic priests, is sharply at odds with official estimates that about 300 people died.

Independent reporter Richard Lloyd Parry said he had seen headless remains and obtained photographs that provide evidence of “an ethnic war of scarcely imaginable savagery, fought according to ancient principles of black magic” in West Kalimantan province on Borneo Island in January and February.

Muslim settlers from the island of Madura have repeatedly clashed over land and jobs with the local tribespeople, the Dayaks, who once were headhunters but have now converted to Christianity.

Witnesses “described seeing thousands of Dayaks, wearing war paint, and apparently in a trance state, shooting Madurese with homemade shotguns, cutting off their heads, drinking their blood and removing and eating their hearts,” Lloyd Parry said.

The priests estimated that 200 Dayaks and 4,000 Madurese died.


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