Indonesian Palm Oil Company Evicts Villagers in Week-Long Raid

by Diana Parker / Mongabay1214Rumah-rumah-warga-SAD-17

Nearly 150 homes were reportedly destroyed in the latest incident in a long-standing conflict between indigenous Batin Sembilan residents and former Wilmar unit PT Asiatic Persada.

Indonesian security forces allegedly stormed several villages inside a Sumatran palm oil plantation concession last weekend and earlier this week, accompanying company staff and hired thugs accused of destroying dozens of homes and looting residents’ property.

Witnesses said the raids began when members of the Indonesian military (TNI) and the police mobile brigade (Brimob) descended on Padang Salak hamlet in Bungku village at 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 together with PT Asiatic Persada personnel and local thugs paid by the company.

“That day [Dec. 7], they destroyed the homes of [Padang Salak residents] Budi and Peheng,” Norman, a resident of nearby Pinang Tinggi hamlet, told Mongabay-Indonesia by phone on Monday. “The next day, they returned and destroyed around 50 homes of residents.”

Norman estimated that as many as 1,500 staff, thugs and security forces were involved in the raids on Saturday and Sunday, a figure also reported in multiple Indonesian news outlets covering the attack.

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