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Four killed in deadly riot in Iran's Kerman province; President orders probe

President Mohammad Khatami has delegated a team to probe into recent unrest at a town in the southeast Kerman province in which four people were killed and dozens others injured, Kerman governor said on Monday, IRNA reported.

"Delegations from the Presidential Office, Interior Ministry and Kerman Governor General's Office are examining the unrest in Shahr-e Babak," said Seifollah Shahdad-Nejad, who put the toll at four people killed and 40 others injured.

The casualties came after riot police fought a pitched battle to hold protestors from rampaging state buildings, including police and the governor's offices.

They followed a sit-in held by a group of disgruntled workers at a copper smelting plant to protest their layoffs by their contractors, but got ugly when a gang of 300 motorbikers started attacking state property in the town.

Shahdad-Nejad did not rule out the work of 'mischief with the support of a certain group' which led to the mayhem, saying the issue was being investigated.

According to the governor, some of the wounded sustained their injuries in clashes with the baton-wielding riot police, while others were hurt by flying objects, thrown by the workers.

He said calm had been restored to the city and the situation was under control.

On Monday, funeral processions are expected to be held for the dead in Shahr-e Babak, which Shahdad-Nejad hoped, would pass off peacefully.

... Payvand News - 1/26/04 ... --

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