Rioters set fire to a shopping mall during election campaign violence on the island of Borneo, killing 130 looters inside, police said Sunday.
The official Antara news agency said "heaps of scorched human skulls" were found near three exits on the second floor of the mall. It said police fear more victims will be found on the mall's third and fourth floors when a search resumes Monday.The Mitra Plaza shopping center was closed and employees sent home when violence between the governing Golkar party and the rival, Muslim-dominated United Development Party began Friday night. Friday was the last day of a violent 27-day campaign period for parliamentary elections Thursday.
Mobs broke into the building at the height of the riot several hours later. It was soon engulfed in dense black smoke and huge flames, and police blamed arsonists.
Some looters escaped, but many stayed inside the burning building, apparently afraid they would be arrested by police and troops who had massed outside, witnesses said.
The fire burned through Saturday and rescue teams could not retrieve bodies until Sunday when the intense heat subsided.
"They have found 130 victims so far," police Sgt. Suripan told The Associated Press in Banjarmasin, about 560 miles northeast of Jakarta. "They are so badly burned we have yet to identify the remains."
Witnesses said some of the dead clung to what remained of goods they had pillaged from stores in the mall.
Yanto, a reporter for the newspaper Banjarmasin Post, said one charred body wore three pairs of trousers.
"Some were clutching stolen things like watches, belts and bags," he said.