INDONESIAN authorities said a total of 292 crocodiles were allegedly killed by an angry mob at a crocodile farm in Sorong, West Papua, on Saturday following the death of a local resident.
The act of retribution came after the 48-year-old man, who goes by the name Sugito, was collecting grass to feed his cattle and entered the crocodile enclosure.
According to the ABC, guards heard screams coming from inside the farm and when they investigated the commotion, they found Sugito already dead.
The man’s funeral was attended by over 600 people who later went to the farm with weapons, including machetes and hoes, among other sharp objects.
Police said they were unable to stop the mob from carrying out the killings, despite dispatching 30 and 40 officers to the area.
“We couldn’t do anything,” Sorong Police Chief Dewa Made Sutrahna was quoted as saying.
“We were outnumbered. The situation was so tense.”
The authorities also said they were investigating elements of possible negligence related to the death. So far, the owner of the farm and another four other people were called in for questioning.
West Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency head Basar Manullang told the Jakarta Post that the villagers had killed the crocodiles illegally.
“The crocodile slaughter violated the law on destroying others’ property,” he said.
He added the crocodile farm was operating legally as it obtained a permit from the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
“The permit is legal and the process [to obtain it] in Jakarta took a long [time]. There were steps and requirements to meet, and it was under the authority of the local government. The crocodile slaughter is obviously against the law,” he said.