500 Police Quieten Latest Buleleng War

SINGARAJA

Five hundred police sent to Lemukih village in Sawan to control the latest outbreak of violence over settlers and disputed land have managed to quieten the situation.

But with the latest violence, sparked by disputed title to village land, 14 houses have now been burned or vandalised and hundreds of residents fled last week to the safety of relatives’ homes in neighbouring villages, saying they were no longer safe.

One man was shot with an air rifle in weekend violence — the pellets lodged in his head — and was also beaten up.

A resident, Ardika, said this week she believed it was better to leave – and just lock up her house in Lemukih – because of the risk of further violence.

She and her family had been haunted by fear, especially at night, a message echoed by other residents.

“If we heard dogs barking, we were afraid, lest there are masses who wanted to burn the house,” one resident said.

Buleleng Police are investigating 14 cases of arson and the assault on the air-rifle victim, Made Sartawan, 20. They have no named any suspects.

Police were told Sartawan was badly beaten, shot in the head, and stabbed.

Another resident, Nyoman Mangku Bagia, complained to police that his house was burned and he was hit by a pellet from an air-gun.

Police described the situation at Lemukih as still tense, with residents staying off the roads. Buleleng Police, public security squads from Jembrana and Karangasem, and riot police from Brimob in Denpasar and Gilimanuk, were originally sent to the scene.

The dispute stems from settlers moving into the area and occupying land on certificate titles that some of the traditional inhabitants of Lemukih dispute.

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