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Jakarta Post

Stray bullet wounds Pasuruan woman, Kontras points to military-civilian agrarian tensions

  • Wahyoe Boediwardhana

    The Jakarta Post

Pasuruan, East Java   /   Fri, July 5, 2019   /   01:39 pm
Stray bullet wounds Pasuruan woman, Kontras points to military-civilian agrarian tensions An illustration shows people holding the spent casings of rifle bullets. The Surabaya branch of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) says that this is not the first time a civilian has been injured by a stray bullet allegedly fired from the naval training center in Grati, Pasuruan. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

A resident of Semedusari, Lekok district, Pasuruan regency, has been wounded by a stray bullet that allegedly came from the Navy's Combat Training Center (Puslatpur) in Grati, Pasuruan. 

The victim, Solihah, claimed that she was sitting with her husband, Asmat, in their living room on Monday morning when their front window and the glass-topped table in the room shattered, and Solihah sustained an injury to her left cheekbone. Under the table, the couple found a bullet casing they said was similar to those that were used in training at the Puslatpur.

It was later reported that a battalion of soldiers had been conducting a training exercise at the Puslatpur at the time.

Puslatpur spokesperson Maj. Umar Tribani denied allegations that the Puslatpur training exercise was using live bullets when the incident occurred. He said the training center was being used by "another battalion" at that time, but declined to provide any details.

“[The question] concerns another battalion. I think I am not the right person to answer it,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday by text message.

Muhammad Djuir, the local coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) in Surabaya, East Java, said this was not the first case of a stray bullet allegedly shot from the Puslatpur that had injured local civilians.

“This case must be investigated openly. It seems that the Puslatpur people are not being transparent regarding this case,” Djuir said on Wednesday.

According to Djuir, eight Indonesian Military (TNI) officers and the village head visited Solihah at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, urging her to accept compensation without filing a complaint.

“The victim’s family was pressed to accept compensation and was manipulated to feel that they were guilty for the incident," he said. "As the village [head] was not assertive and even seemed afraid of the military, the victim accepted the Rp 1 million [US$ 70.70] offered as compensation.”

Djuir also alleged that Solihah had signed a "statement" with the village head, although he was not aware of its contents.

Djuir said that tensions between the military and the local people had been ongoing ever since agrarian conflict erupted in the area.

Kontras Surabaya has recorded 102 current cases of agrarian conflict, of which 70 percent are between civilians and the military, and the rest between the local community and private companies.

Kontras was calling on the TNI to issue a public apology and explain the incident. It was also urging East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa to immediately mobilize the special team she had just formed to end agrarian conflicts in Grati.

“At present, Kontras is working with two communities in Surabaya in relation to the agrarian conflict between them and the Brawijaya Regional Military Command V and Surabaya Naval Base 5 ,” Djuir said.