Farmer shot to death at rally protesting APP's supplier

EoF News / 11 November 2010

PEKANBARU (EoF News )–  A farmer was shot to death by police during a bloody rally in Jambi’s river that protested Sinar Mas / Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) pulpwood supplier’s takeover of 7,224-hectare land in 2001 as claimed by Senyerang villagers.

Ahmad Adam (40), a farmer from Senyerang village of Tanjung Jabung Barat  district was shot to death by elite brigade of Jambi police on Pengabuan river on Monday. 

Scores of NGOs in Jambi, Riau and Jakarta protested the police and PT Wira Karya Sakti (WKS) of Sinar Mas/APP in excessive handling to disperse the protest staged by farmers on boats who stopped a log tug boat on Pengabuan river heading to APP’s PT Lontar Papyrus Pulp & Paper pulp mill.

Some NGOS such as Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA), Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API), Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI), Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice (IHCS), and Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Tindak Kekerasan (KONTRAS) filed complaint to Indonesian Police Headquarters and Human Rights National Commission in Jakarta on Tuesday, Tribunnews reported.

Civil society groups in Jambi and Riau including KKI Warsi, Walhi Jambi, Walhi Riau, Jikalahari, and Greenpeace separately denounced strongly the bloody incident that also caused other three farmers hospitalized due to serious injury by the shooting.

They said that the police conducted human rights abuse in attempt to facilitating the demand from Sinar Mas/ APP, pulp giant company in Riau and Jambi.

Report said that the police dispersed the protest by shooting in frenzy without warning at thousands of farmers who were under Persatuan Petani Jambi (Jambi Farmers Association/PPJ), Tribunnews reported Tuesday (9/11/2010).

The farmers protested to stop tug boats of APP’s affiliated company as they were frustrated PT WKS had no willingness to negotiate their demand of 7,224 hectare land that taken over by the APP affiliated company.

The NGOs in Jakarta urged the police to take action and uphold law enforcement against the perpetrators and urged the government to revoke PT WKS license in Jambi province. They also asked the Minister of Forestry to return the land taken over by PT WKS as claimed by the farmers.

Walhi Jambi urged the Indonesian Police Headquarters to sack Jambi Police Chief, Bambang Suparsono, following the death of the farmer, reported on Tuesday.

PT WKS spokesperson, Kurniawan, denied that the company took over the land belonging to community of Senyerang village, reported. 

Most brutal incident

In a press release issued by WALHI Jambi, KKI-WARSI, Persatuan Petani Jambi (PPJ), Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN), Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA) Jambi, the group said that PT WKS had conducted repetitively violence action against community by hiring police and thugs.

"Not only in Senyerang, but also in other areas in five districts throughout Jambi province,” the group said in a media release issued on Tuesday. “The death of Bapak Ahmad, resident of Senyerang, is the most brutal abuse conducted by PT WKS.”

The NGOs also expressed the suffering perceived by the farmers due to pulpwood operation due to the land takeover in 2001 such as beetles attacked farmer’s coconut trees, the shortage of log for community’s use, and the river and environment was polluted and harmed by the operation of PT WKS.

The farmers from Senyerang had filed complaints to all levels of government and parliaments to fight their cause, but there is no solution, the release said.

“This incident should have not occurred if PT WKS has willing to conduct a honest and fair measure in running its business, while the Government and police have become mediators in the dispute,” the group said. 

The civil society groups in Jambi also urged the Government to conduct an audit to pulpwood plantation system in general, particularly to PT WKS of Sinar Mas/ APP. At least 81,000 hectares of communal land had been captured by PT WKS in Jambi, the group said.

Story on PT WKS certification