Two men are in the custody of the Malang Police after almost being burned alive on Monday by local residents who accused them of kidnapping children in the Pagak area of Malang, East Java.
According to Pagak Police chief Adj. Comr. Winarto, residents in a village in Bantur subdistrict had been concerned over recent rumours that child abductions had been taking place in the area. After assessing their "suspicious" movements, the two men were accused of being kidnappers.
"The two men were deemed suspicious by residents and they took the law into their own hands by capturing them and almost setting them on fire. However, we got to the scene and immediately secured the men," Winarto said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
Investigators said the men, who were not residents of Malang, had allegedly taken part in violent robberies, but it remained unclear whether they were responsible for child abductions.
"Police seized a broom, clothes and a large amount of money from them as evidence," Malang Police head of criminal investigations First Comr. Yan Ushuludin said.
Over the past few weeks, rumours of child abductions were spread via text messages and BlackBerry Messenger, stoking fear and suspicion among the residents of Malang.