SORONG, INDONESIA (AFP) - An angry mob has slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles in Indonesia after a local man was killed by one of the reptiles, the authorities said Monday (July 16).
The revenge killing happened on Saturday in Papua province following the funeral of the man, who had perished when he fell into an enclosure at a crocodile farm while looking for grass to feed his livestock, police and conservation officials said.
The victim, identified as 48-year-old Sugito, was bitten on the leg and then fatally struck by the tail of one of the crocodiles, which are a protected species, they said.
Sugito's relatives and local residents, angry over the farm's location near a residential area, marched to the local police station, the authorities said.
Local conservation agency head Bassar Manulang said they were told that the farm had agreed to pay compensation.
"We made an agreement with the victim's family and conveyed our condolences," he added.
But the mob, which numbered in the "hundreds", was not satisfied and headed to the crocodile farm armed with knives, machetes and shovels which they used to slaughter some 292 crocs, from 10cm-long babies to 2m-long adults, the authorities said.
Outnumbered police and conservation agency officials said they were unable to stop the grisly attack.
The authorities said they are investigating and may lay criminal charges.
"For now, we are still questioning the witnesses," said Dewa Made Sidan Sutrahna, the police chief in Papua's Sorong district.
The Indonesian archipelago is home to a vast array of wildlife, including several species of crocodiles that regularly attack and kill humans.
In March, the authorities on the Indonesian half of Borneo island shot and killed a 6m-long crocodile after it ate a local palm plantation worker.
Two years ago, a Russian tourist was killed by a crocodile in the Raja Ampat islands, a popular diving site in the east of the archipelago.