World Rainforest Movement

Indonesia: local people burn oil palm plantation company’s base camp

A land dispute between local farmers from Kuala Batee and the oil palm plantation company PT Cemerlang Abdi has erupted into violent conflict. After several months of attempts to negotiate over land rights, hundreds of angry villagers went to PT Cemerlang Abdi’s base camp and told the staff to leave. They took away vehicles, heavy machinery and a generator before burning the base camp to the ground. A security police post was also burnt down.. No-one was killed, but six people were shot and injured (two seriously) and 49 were held in custody after security forces moved in.

The villagers claim that the company has violated their land rights. The Government of South Aceh, where the conflict is taking place, is seemingly moving to find a solution to the controversy. According to the local administrator, the government has settled a fair compensation to the farmers, which would also be given 1,000 hectares of land to make up for that taken from them by the company.

Source: Down to Earth, 37, May 1998.