Riau NGOs condemn WWF staff attack

EoF News / 11 May 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- Several environmental NGOs and organizations in Riau have issued a joint statement Thursday here urging the law enforcers to probe the Tesso Nilo assault incident and bring the culprits to the justice.

Last week around 150 encroachers attacked 13 members of Team for Preventing and Managing Enroachment in Tesso Nilo last week.  The attack have caused four team members injured including Samsul "Ican" Komar, staff for Forest Crime Unit of WWF-Indonesia Riau Conservation Program. He was first attacked by a provocateur, a staff of Pelalawan District Forestry Service.

The 12 NGOs and organizations says they "strongly condemned the actions of looting, intimidating, assault and abduction perpetrated by encroachers that suffered by the team including Samsul Komar of WWF-Indonesia who is mainly targeted by the assault."

He was first attacked by the provocateur, a staff of Pelalawan District Forestry Service, who shouted to kill the victim. It is followed by other kicks and punches from other attackers. Samsul ran away amid the the mob overwhelmed him, and he was saved by a man riding motorbike.

The group urged the police to immediately apprehend the suspects who allegedly provoked the assault as well as arrest masterminds behind the crimes. The pressure group also urged the law enforcers to take legal process entirely based upon the existing laws.  

The 12 Riau NGOs and organizations that signed the joint statement are Jikalahari, Tesso Nilo NP Foundation, WWF-Indonesia of Riau Program, KBH Riau (legal aid office), LBH Riau (legal aid institute), Walhi Riau, LALH (environmental advocacy institute), Alam Sumatra Foundation, Kaliptra, Elang Foundation, Siklus and Mitra Insani.

Samsul said he was a main target for the assault beside other members wearing plainclothes during their patrol in the encroacment area of the State forest in Tesso Nilo.

Willy, the nickname of the forestry service staff, who agitated the mob to attack and kill Samsul, is still at large. Besides, the alleged masterminds of this assault are not apprehended yet. The pressure group also urged the forestry service to immediately sack the culprit.

"We urge the law enforcers and related institutions to be more serious in solving forest crime cases in Tesso Nilo, particularly, and in Riau generally," one of seven points of statement said.

WWF staff attacked