MEDAN, Indonesia — A recent clash between Indigenous community members in Sumatra and workers from a pulpwood plantation company has marred ongoing efforts to resolve a decades-long land conflict. At least a dozen members of the Natumingka Indigenous community in North Sumatra province were reported to have been injured during a clash that broke out on May 18 when they blocked some 400 workers and security guards of PT Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) from entering the disputed area. They had staged the protest to defend what they say is their ancestral land. Police officers were present at the scene at the request of the company. Among those injured was Jusman Simanjuntak, 75, who had to receive multiple stitches after being struck in the head when the clash turned violent and rocks were being thrown. “The defeat of Natumingka on May 18, 2021, is not a regret for me, but that became a moment of resurgence of the Natumingka community,” he said at an online press conference on June 3. The two sides have been locked in dispute over the land in North Sumatra’s North Tapanuli district since 1992. Twenty-three Indigenous communities, including the Natumingka, claim ancestral rights to some 20,754 hectares (51,284 acres) inside the concession granted to TPL, an affiliate of pulp and paper giant Royal Golden Eagle. The company, previously known as PT Inti Indorayon Utama, was initially granted a 269,060-hectare (664,862-acre) concession, but this was reduced in 2020 to 167,912 hectares (414,920 acres) by the environment ministry…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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