Tribal Villages, Mining Firms Fight for Land In Indonesia

Source: Jakarta Globe

January 09, 2012, Mataram. Members of two tribal communities in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, say they are being driven from their homes by the authorities as part of a land dispute with two mining companies.

Authorities, they say, burned down their homes after accusing them of illegal logging, charges they vehemently deny.

Members of the Pekasah and Berco Cek Bocek tribes on Sumbawa Island live in a protected forest in the villages of Lawin, Labangkar and Ai Ketapang.

But they say that is their ancestral land and deny any illegal activity.

In December, a joint team including the police, soldiers and forest rangers burned down Pekasah homes in Lunyuk subdistrict and evicted the 50 tribal families in the villages.

“We were accused of illegal logging but the truth is we have lived on our ancestral land for generations,” the Pekasah tribal chief, Edi Kuswanto, said on Sunday.

Authorities first attempted to evict tribal members in 1974, Edi said in Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara, on Lombok Island. Since then, he said, there have been at least three major attacks on the tribes.

For the complete article, please see Jakarta Globe.