Sat, 27 Jul 1996

Fire victims seek LBH help

JAKARTA (JP): Nine residents of Penjaringan Muara Karang, North Jakarta, went to the Jakarta Legal Aid Institution (LBH) yesterday to seek help and protection from the city administration, which they claimed has arbitrarily demolished their kiosks and houses, previously gutted by a fire.

Abdulah, the leader of the delegation, told several LBH officials that their kiosks and houses, which they rebuilt after the fire razed the area on July 15, were bulldozed by city officials, police and military personnel on July 22.

He said the officials demolished the buildings without prior warning or a demolition order.

"The residents were almost involved in physical clashes with the officials," Abdulah said.

A few days after the demolition, a resident, Robert, was summoned to the subdistrict office where he was pressured into leaving the site with the other fire victims as soon as possible, he added.

The Jakarta LBH criticized the city administration's high- handed action and promised the homeless residents that it will do its best to resolve the problem, the institution's spokesperson Dewi Novirianti said.

There were 71 families and 150 buildings on the site before the fire gutted it. Other buildings destroyed in the fire were kiosks and shops. (bas)