Indonesian police force residents off slopes of deadly volcano

October 20, 2007 03:12

Police forced tens of thousands of villagers living along the slopes of one of Indonesia's deadliest volcanoes to evacuate - some at gunpoint - after a series of deep underground tremors heightened fears of an imminent eruption. Scientists raised the alert at Mount Kelud to the highest level last week, pointing to sharply rising temperatures in the lake of its crater and violent rumbling beneath. Though 116,000 people were told to leave their homes, many refused, saying they needed to tend to their crops or protect against possible looting. At least five residents were hospitalized after breathing in poisonous gases, Palal Santoso, a government spokesman, said Friday.

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