Jambi villagers burn APP

EoF News / 02 January 2008

Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- Residents of Lubuk Mandarsah, Tebo District of Jambi province, ran amok and burned 11 excavators and one car belong to PT Wira Karya Sakti (WKS), a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group or Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), as the pulp company first cleared three-year-aged oil palm plantation of a villager.

Jambi Ekspres daily reported Wednesday (2 January 2008) that 21 villagers who allegedly involved in the riot on 28 December 2007 hae surrendered to the police Tuesday.   

The police interrogated them as the witnesses, while other three suspects detained by Tebo Police including head of sub-village.

The daily reported that the amok was incited by PT WKS’ action in clearing oil palm plantation belongs to a villager. The residents reacted angrily by burning excavators clearing the oil palm plantation they cultivated, Jambi Ekspres reported (2/1/2008).

Head of Tengah Ilir district, Taufiq Hidayat, said that 21 villagers voluntarily surrendered to the police. “This will depend upon interrogators from Tebo Police Office to detain them or not,” he said as quoted by Jambi Ekspres as saying.

“This is a pure crime and we as law enforcers will work accordingly to the existing rules,” said Chief of Tebo Police Office, Syamsuddin Lubis.

Jambi Ekpress reported that the conflict between villagers and WKS, the main supplier of APP timber in the province, had been filed by residents to Tebo Legislative Council, Jambi Legislative Council and House of Representatives, but there is no solution.

The daily said the land dispute not only took place in Lubuk Mandarsah village, but also in other sub-districts in Tebo. However, the problems remain unsettled.