Tue, 30 May 2000

Eight shot in Kendal

KENDAL, Central Java: Eight civilians were shot on Saturday in a violent clash between 500 people and Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers guarding a clove factory belonging to PT Zanzibar in the district of Patean, Kendal regency.

Patean District Police Chief Lt. Sutana confirmed the shooting on Monday, saying that his men used rubber bullets to quell the mob and that procedures were not violated.

The violent incident, involving residents from four villages in Patean district was believed to be caused by a misunderstanding when a Curug Sewu villager named Sugito pulled peanut plants at PT Zanzibar's compound at noon Saturday.

To Sugito's surprise, a group of Brimob officers arrived, and one of them fired a warning shot. "One of them then beat Sugito," a resident claimed.

"The policemen may have thought Sugito was stealing. They didn't know that we have a longstanding agreement with the company that the empty space belonging to the company could be used by locals for planting," said the resident who asked not to be named.

Hours later Sugito, accompanied by around 500 men returned wielding sickles, swords and other sharp weapons.

The Brimob officers fired their weapons when confronted by the mob. Eight people were hurt. (har/sur)