Marine Shooting Victims Buried

JAKARTA ~ Hundreds of villagers gathered on Thursday for the funerals of those killed when Indonesian marines opened fire on protesters, officials said.

The bodies of the four victims were carried through the streets of a village outside Pasuruan in Java before being buried at the local cemetery, the official said.

“All four victims are now being buried in the same cemetery, side by side,” Muzammil Syafii, deputy chief of the district, said.

The military apologized for the shootings on Wednesday, when marines opened fire on villagers who had gathered to rally against development by the navy of land just outside Pasuruan.

Villagers blocked a road leading to the land and held speeches before clashing with marines who tried to disperse them, officials have said.

Two men and two women were killed and others were injured in the shooting, officials said.

Villagers followed the bodies on Thursday and gathered at the cemetery outside Alastlogo. Flags were at half mast in the village as a sign of mourning and the atmosphere was calm.

Residents are often embroiled in property disputes with the Indonesian military, which owns vast tracts of sometimes dormant land, although disputes rarely lead to such deadly violence.

Witnesses have said the soldiers opened fire without provocation, but the military has said they were threatened by the crowd which had also started to pelt them with stones.

The military has promised a full investigation into the shooting.

About 13 marines involved would be questioned by the navy’s military police unit later Thursday, local media reported.

The navy originally owned the land but neglected it for many years, allowing residents to build on and farm the area, officials have said.

The navy reclaimed ownership several years ago, forcing some of the residents off the some 3,000-hectare site, prompting them to take the matter to court.

The court ruled in favor of the navy, but residents have lodged an appeal that they say prevents the navy developing it until the case is settled.

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