Human rights watchdogs and environmental NGO have slammed the police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) shooting on Friday of Limbang Jaya residents in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, which left a 12-year-old boy dead.
The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam) said Saturday that the shooting constituted excessive use of force against civilians.
“This kind of attack is not new. The police have once again used their guns when dealing with unarmed residents,” said Elsam director, Indriaswati D. Saptaningrum.
Indriaswati said the death of a child showed that the police’s attitude in handling such cases was deteriorating.
“It is clear to see that the police have ignored all previous criticism regarding their brutal attacks against residents,” Indriaswati said.
In the latest incident, hundreds of Brimob officers allegedly shot at civilians in Limbung Jaya vilage to prevent the residents from conducting a demonstration.
Amid the ensuing chaos the boy, Angga bin Darmawan, was fatally shot in his head.
The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) reported that other five civilians, four of them women, had been injured. The wounded were taken to Bhayangkara Hospital in Palembang.
Nur Kholis, the deputy chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said Friday that the shooting should be a main concern of the National Police, the central government and the regional administration.
“There have been too many such incidents. Whatever their reasons, the police must stop using violence when dealing with conflicting residents,” he said.
Residents in several vilages in Ogan Ilir regency have been involved in a land dispute for years. They have tried to reclaim plantation land managed by state-owned plantation company PTPN VII Cinta Manis, but to no avail.
Several clashes broke out when police officers prevented residents from reclaiming the land. (fzm/lfr)