Rosniawanti Fikry Tahir, Jakarta – A student of the Halu Oleo Kendari University, Muhammad Iksan, fell victim to a machete attack by an unknown person on Thursday, January 2, after participating in a protest against the disarray surrounding the nickel mine at North Konawe.
Iksan joined his friends who are students of the Forestry and Environment Faculty in a protest at the Southeast Sulawesi Legislative Council (DPRD). The group was also joined in the Indonesian Forestry Students Association (Sylva).
According to the association's field coordinator, Muhammad Adriansyah, the attack on Iksan happened at noon in front of the University's Forestry Faculty while Iksan was waiting for class. Suddenly, he said, two unknown men approached them on a motorcycle and immediately launched the attack by slashing Iksan's head with a machete.
After the machete attack, Iksan was run to the local community healthcare center and had to receive 15 stitches on his head. The authorities immediately handled the case after the students filed a police report that day.
The horror of the attack was evident in the witness testimony by Muhammad Adriansyah; "The victim's condition is improving and he has been sent home. He really needs to rest as the machete slashed open his head partially revealing his bare skull."
Adriansyah suspects that the attack was initially aimed at him and not at Iksan. He said there were people taking pictures and videos of him during the protest at the DPRD headquarters.
Prior to the protest, the field coordinator was also approached by people from the mining company asking not to put the North Konawe mining activities under the spotlight.
The mining firm is suspected to be involved in a forest land embezzlement in North Konawe, where the firm is revealed to not be equipped with proper permits to use partial forest land. But the mining firm had already started mining nickel ore in a joint operation with other mining firms.