Jakarta – The Mesuji Police have confiscated a range of weapons, including firearms and sharp objects, from the Register 45 plantation area in Mekar Jaya Abadi, Mesuji, Lampung, following a deadly clash that claimed at least four lives on Wednesday.
"The weapons were allegedly used during the brawl between the two groups. We are scouring the location to collect more evidence," Mesuji Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Edi Purnomo said as quoted by Antara news service.
Edi said the situation had been brought under control. Detectives are currently questioning eyewitnesses to determine the cause of the brawl, Edi added.
Edi dismissed rumors that a group of local thugs had provoked the clash. "Based on our preliminary investigation, we haven't found any indication of that [provocation by thugs]," Edi went on.
The police claim the fight involved only two groups of cassava farmers. Following the brawl, the police deployed more than 500 officers to restore order.
"We call on residents, especially those from the two concerned groups, to remain calm and vigilant against unverified information," Edi said.
The clash broke out on Wednesday afternoon after a group of farmers, called Pematang Panggang Mesuji Raya, reportedly attempted to occupy the area by driving heavy-duty vehicles onto a plot of land in the area. The plot is owned by Yusuf, 41, a Mekar Jaya Abadi group member.
Soon after, residents around the forestry plantation area confronted the group members and questioned them. Not long after, people from Pematang Panggang Mesuji Raya reportedly went to the village carrying sharp weapons and started to attack the residents.
Four people were killed in the brawl, while 10 others are being treated at the Lampung Police hospital in Bandarlampung.
Mesuji has a long history of agrarian conflict, with dozens of farmers being killed between 2009 and 2011 in bloody clashes. (dmy/dmr)