Fri, 17 Nov 2000

Police investigate series of attacks

BANDUNG: The police are investigating a number of attacks by armed mobs on Dawuan villagers living on the Condong plantation in Garut, West Java.

"So far there has been no official report from the Pakenjeng Police, but we will investigate the case thoroughly," West Java Police spokesman Sr. Supt. Dade Achmad said on Thursday.

Thirteen representatives of the 176 villagers asked the West Java Council on Wednesday for protection following attacks on their homes on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 by unidentified people.

"We don't know why the attack occurred ... suddenly the armed mob just attacked and torched our houses," 30-year-old Agus said during a hearing with Councilor Maky Yuliawan.

Agus said his and 47 other families were living on the 64- hectare plot of land in Condong before the 7,000-hectare Condong plantation was established.

Another resident, Maryadi, 40, said their ancestors had been living in that location since 1937.

The villagers, however, admitted ownership of the land was being disputed by the owners of the plantation.

According to the villagers, a villa allegedly belonging to former president Soeharto's family is located on the plantation, though this could not be immediately confirmed. (25/edt)