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Army Used Live Rounds in Kebumen: Kontras

Sumber: THEJAKARTAGLOBE.COM | Tgl terbit: Senin, 25 April 2011
Kebumen. A leading human rights body accused the military on Sunday of firing live ammunition at farmers during a clash earlier this month in Kebumen, Central Java.

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), refuted claims by the Army that its personnel only used rubber bullets in the April 16 incident stemming from a land dispute.

“The team we sent to the scene found preliminary evidence that the Army had used live rounds,” he said.

“We also found batons used to disperse the farmers. We’re now analyzing the findings.”

He also said Kontras had received complaints that the Army was carrying out raids to frighten the farmers in Kebumen’s Setrojenar village.

“Raids are the duty of the police,” Haris said.

“The parties in the dispute should exercise mutual restraint. We urge the military commander to withdraw all the troops from the disputed area pending an investigation.”

He said the clash, in which 14 farmers were injured, was triggered primarily by a dispute over land used by the Army for live-fire exercises but claimed by the farmers as their own.

He said a second factor was the speculation that the Army was conspiring with investors to mine the land for iron.

“All the findings are still preliminary, but there are indications that elements of the Army were seeking to get involved in the mining business in Kebumen’s coastal area,” Haris said.

“We have documents that strengthen these indications, but we still need to analyze them before reaching any conclusions.”

Lt. Col. Zaenal Muttaqien, a spokesman for the Diponegoro Military Command in Semarang, Central Java, which oversees operations in the province, denied the Army had used live ammunition on the farmers.

“We only used a magazine of hollow bullets and a magazine of rubber bullets,” he told the Jakarta Globe.

“The allegations made by Kontras need to be clarified.”

He also challenged the commission to back up claims about the ownership of the coastal area under dispute. He said the state had granted the land to the military in 1949 “and we have the complete documents ready to trump any other documents belonging to anyone else.”

Akhmad Murtajib, a spokesman for the farmers’ group, said residents were living in fear since the clash, with most too afraid to return to their homes.

“They’ve fled to mosques, the offices of NGOs and other gathering places,” he told the Globe.

“They’ve left their farmland neglected. We urge the LPSK [Witness and Victim Protection Agency] to protect them.


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