Farmers in Teluk Rendah, Tebo Ilir district in Tebo regency, Jambi, have planned to report a shooting incident to the National Police after a clash with the Mobile Brigade Unit personnel.
“We have decided to report the incident to the National Police,” Muara Ketalo Farming Community leader Razali confirmed in Tebo Ilir.
During the incident, a farmer named Matori, a resident in Pasar Teluk Rendah, allegedly suffered a gunshot.
Based on the farmers’ accounts, the clash occurred at PT Tunjuk Langit Sejahtera (TLS) in Teluk Rendah village when police personnel stopped five of their trucks carrying oil palm crops.
The personnel stopped the trucks, as they did not possess the necessary documents permitting them to sell the crops outside the working area.
The farmers, however, said they could, based on a decision by the Jambi provincial legislative council.
The legislative rules, they say, stipulate the farmers can sell their crops to other parties besides PT TLS with the approval from the local village chief.
The farmers claimed they were equipped with the permit, but the police personnel reportedly threatened them with firearms.
Upon hearing about the holdup, it was said other farmers in the area rallied to show their support.
Hundreds of farmers gathered in front of the inspection post at Simpang, Teluk Rendah. They later pelted rocks and sticks at around 17 police personnel, which triggered the clash.
“The brigade members shot at us several times, harming one of us,” said Razali.
Jambi Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Alamsyah denied shooting directly at the farmers.
“We only fired warning shots into the air,” he said.
According to the police, the warning shots pacified the situation.
Alamsyah said there were no casualties on both sides during the incident.
After a meeting between community figures and the Tebo Ilir district chief, they reached an agreement to hold a meeting between the provincial legislature and PT TLS.
“At this point in time, residents will not sell their crops outside the boundaries and they said they would accept the outcome of the meeting,” Alamsyah said.
The police seized dossiers in the form of rocks, a molotov cocktail, a plastic bottle filled with rubber acid and 17 motorcycles.
“The case is currently under control,” Alamsyah said.
In response to the report, the farmers planned to lodge complaints to the National Police, which Alamsyah considered as normal and legal.
“It is their right. But certainly, based on Tebo Police reports, no resident was shot,” he said.
Meanwhile, based on a statement from Sungai Bengkal Community health clinic head Andre, farmer Matori sustained a bruise on his left arm, an abrasion and swelling.
However, when asked about its cause, he could not determine whether the wound was due to a gunshot.
“It’s possible,” he added. “It looks like a wound from a rubber bullet.”
He said the victim did not undergo in-patient treatment at the clinic and returned home immediately.
“The wound is not too serious,” he said.