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Human remains found in slain Indonesia croc

12/6/2006

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Villagers found two human hands, a leg and a pair of shorts inside a half-ton crocodile they trapped and killed in eastern Indonesia, a conservationist said Wednesday.

At least five people have gone missing in recent months in the same area of East Nusa Tenggara province and are believed to have been eaten by a crocodile or crocodiles, said local conservationist Lorens Mbatu.

The 16-foot-long reptile captured Monday is suspected of having eaten a 59-year-old fisherman, who was last seen a week ago near a river in the province about 750 miles east of the capital, Jakarta.

Thousands of crocodiles inhabit this vast archipelago of 17,000 islands. Man-eaters are rare.

But residents have been warned that at least two more dangerous saltwater crocodiles — suspected of devouring dozens of cattle, pigs, goats and poultry — remain at large.

The villagers who found human body parts inside the captured crocodile's abdomen — along with skull fragments and strands of hair — cut the beast into pieces and shared the meat, Mbatu said.

"People here believe they must eat the flesh of a crocodile that has eaten a human so there will be no more victims," he said.