East Java Residents Oppose Plan for Military Drills
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Residents of Tulungagung, East Java, have spoken out against a plan for military exercises in the area, claiming that they own the land and that the drills will disrupt their daily activities and even put their lives at risk.
Eva Kusuma Sundari, a lawmaker representing the area, said in Jakarta on Monday that people living there demanded the Military (TNI) cancel the plan.
East Java territorial command Brawijaya has started preparations for the drill, which is scheduled for today until Friday.
Residents received notification from the local military commander stating that the training would be held in two plantations near densely-populated areas in Kaligentong and Kalidawir.
The military exercise is the second in the area, following drills in May.
In the past, such disputes over land have sparked violent conflicts with local communities.
In the Pasuruan, East Java, Navy personnel shot and killed four residents during a land dispute demonstration in 2007.
The Military has controlled or rented about 2,500 square kilometers of land for more than half a century, and recently acknowledged not having appropriate permits for about 90 percent of it.