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Jakarta Post

Indigenous Moluccans named suspects in struggle over corporate-claimed forest

  • Belseran Christ

    The Jakarta Post

Maluku   /   Mon, February 24, 2020   /  09:52 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Indigenous people in Sabuai village, Eastern Seram regency in Maluku hold a customary ritual in a forest area they claim as their customary forest on Feb. 17. (Courtesy of/Kaleb Yamarua)

The Eastern Seram Police have named two people from Sabuai customary village in Maluku's Eastern Seram regency suspects for alleged vandalism. They were reportedly trying to protect a forest that they considered part of their society’s heritage from logging. "The two indigenous individuals were named suspects, but we did not detain them," Eastern Seram Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Adolof Bormasa said, adding that they had allegedly damaged heavy equipment belonging to a logging company operating in the forest. The two suspects were among 26 people detained last week after a protest of the company’s activities allegedly turned into a riot. The protesters reportedly chained down heavy machinery used to extract timber from Mount Ahwale forest in Sabuai. All the detainees were released after interrogation. The protesters have said that even though they we...