Indonesia: child shot dead by police in demonstration over land dispute

(Edit: Letter of solidarity with farmers in Ogan Ilir on Indonesian anarchist website Membakar Senja)

(Indonesian-language report at Kokemi)

 July 29: On Friday afternoon, a child was shot dead and at least two other residents were critically injured during a clash between police and residents of the village of Limbang Jaya in South Sumatra.

The incident took place close to the grounds of the Cinta Manis [“Sweet love”] sugar factory, and was said to have occurred as part of an ongoing land dispute in the area.

A demonstration over a land dispute at the Cinta Manis sugar plantation in South Sumatra earlier this month.

National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said that the violence was provoked by residents hurling rocks at a police vehicle following up on a case regarding stolen goods that belonged to [Cinta Manis].”

The Mobile Brigade (Brimob) vehicle was passing through Limbang Jaya when residents began to hurl rocks at it. Police say they fired a warning shot and tear gas, then fired into the crowd when residents became more violent.

An elementary school student, Angga Fadli bin Mawan, 13, was shot in the head, and died immediately, according to the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

Yarman bin Karuman, 47, a blacksmith, was injured in the arm and back.

The third victim was Farida binti Juni, 48, a housewife, who was injured in the left arm.

“The victims have been evacuated to the Bhayangkara hospital, while the situation in Lembang Jaya is now under control,” Boy said.

Kontras has condemned the police action against the villagers.

“This was a brutal act committed by Brimob officers in a land dispute with the Cinta Manis sugar factory. Kontras strongly condemns the shootings perpetrated by the South Sumatra Mobile Brigade against the people of Limbang Jaya,” Sinung Karto, a Kontras officer responsible for advocacy, law and human rights, said on Saturday.

Sinung added that although the residents had attacked the police with rocks, there was no reason for officers to respond with bullets.

According to information from Kontras and contrary to the police version of event, more than three victims were injured in the conflict.

Kontras said that four other people had gunshot wounds and were in critical condition, including Jessica, 16, and Dud binti Juning, a 30-year-old woman. The two were identified at the Bhayangkara Palembang hospital.

“Then there was Rusman Bin Alimin, and one other whose name we do not know yet,” Sinung said, adding that violence in the area had been ongoing since July 17.

Since then, dozens of residents have become victims, and others have been held at the South Sumatra police headquarters.

Kontras stated the cause of the violence as a land dispute between the Cinta Manis sugar factory and the residents of 22 nearby villages.

“We regret that this incident happened only two days after [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] said that he would form a team to resolve agrarian disputes,” Sinung said. “This issue shows that the president’s statement is being ignored by police.”

Kontras demanded that the police stop using deadly force against civilians, especially in conflicts over natural resources.

The commission also asked the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the national ombudsman to conduct an investigation into the incident.

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