Victims of alleged police brutality condemned Saturday’s shootings of unarmed residents at Barumun police subprecinct in Padang Lawas, North Sumatra.
One of the victims, Asrul Habib Harahap, 38, said he remembered how the police brutally shot at the residents and claimed to have been wounded in the right arm.
“I saw the police shoot a warning shot into the air only once. After that, the shots were aimed at residents at close range,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Asrul said the incident started when residents went to the Barumun police subprecinct to demand the release of three local leaders arrested by the police.
“There was provocation from inside the police subprecinct by non-uniformed people who threw stones at the residents,” he said.
“The situation became chaotic when residents were hit by stones and retaliated. The police then shot indiscriminately at residents.”
Claiming the situation was similar to a war, he added that 10 people were shot in the incident. Two of them were women, Murni, 50, and Dawiyah Daulay, 45. Asrul said that all injured residents were still being treated at the hospital except for him.
He demanded a full investigation into the brutality and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Wisjnu Amat Sastro said the provincial police would conduct an investigative audit to find out whether there were procedural violations conducted by the officers in anticipating residents’ presence.
“We will punish the officers if there were any procedural violations,” he said when visiting the police subprecinct.
He admitted that some residents were injured in the clash, but denied there were any fatalities.
Adj. Sr. Comr. Abdul Rizal Enhalu, chief of the Tapanuli Selatan Police, which also oversees Padang Lawas regency, said the situation at the clash location had since been brought under control.
He said the police had apprehended 15 people in relation to the clash.
Meanwhile, the residents’ lawyer, Yusuf Nasution, said the incident at the Barumun police subprecinct was incited by the police arresting three local leaders.
Yusuf said the arrest was related to a land dispute involving 2,500-hectare ancestral land in four villages of Aek Buaton, Hutabargot, Sidongdong and Batu Sundung since 1998.
He said the three leaders were arrested after someone who claimed to be the land owner filed a report with the police against those local leaders.
“This arbitrary arrest incited the residents to go to the Barumun police subprecinct, which ended in the shooting,” he said.
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