Losses From Jambi Riots Reach Rp 1.8B
Monday, 21 May, 2012 | 15:42 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jambi:The long running land dispute between the locals and a palm plantation company, PT Jambi Agro Wijaya (JAW), sparked a fresh showdown last Saturday. At least 250 villagers from Simpangmeranti village, Airhitam district, Sarolangun regency burnt down assets belonging to the company. “The company's losses from the vandalism and arson reached Rp. 1.8 billion,” said Adj. Sr. Comr. Almansyah, Jambi Regional Police's spokesman on Sunday (May 20).
He added that the condition at the site is slowly returning to normal, after at least 100 personnel from anti-riots police, intelligence and mobile brigade police officers were deployed at the area on Saturday.
On the day of the incident, the masses arrived at the plantation location since early morning. At around 11 am, they began the assault - vandalizing and torching the company's properties, destroying at least 60 staff housing units and 3 motorcycles in the fire. “They didn't stop there. Three security guards of the company were also wounded by sharp weapons. They also destroyed at least 15 hectares of palm trees on the disputed plot,” Almansyah disclosed.
Head of the Airhitam Police Adj. Comr. Pujiarso previously told reporters that they only found out about the incident after it was over. “Even the company didn't report it to us,” he said.
The Sarolangun regency government's delegates have also arrived at the location to help resolve the conflict. Police is also in the process of conducting a focus group discussion. "We've sent letters to both sides and will arrange a meeting soon,” Pujiarso added.
Based on the information gathered by Tempo, the dispute on the 800 hectare land has been ongoing since in the past decade. In 2010, attempts were made to resolve it but failed to reach a pact.
M. Panjatan, one of the participants in the rampage said that the villagers only demanded the 800 hectares plot belonging to them. "Initially we only wanted to ask why the company set up a cottage on the disputed land, but we didn't get a proper response. We were disappointed and vented it out,” he said.
Tempo tried to contact PT JAW several times for confirmation but the company declined to give comments regarding the incident. SYAIPUL BAKHORI
ANOTHER INDEX :