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Government accused of lying over police violence, arrests at Wadas Village

CNN Indonesia - February 9, 2022

Jakarta – Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Muhammad Isnur has accused Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD of lying over an incident at Wadas Village in Purworejo regency, Central Java.

Isnur also said that Mahfud's explanation that there was no violence against Wadas Village residents yesterday is not in accordance with the facts on the ground.

"Pak [Mr] Mahfud's narrative is clearly not based on and is different from the facts on the ground which we have seen, the Jogja LBH [Yogyakarta Legal Aid Foundation] witnessed [the incident] for themselves", said Isnur when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Wednesday February 9.

"If Pak Mahfud has seen the video which is spreading easily on social media and also heard [Wadas] residents' stories, then clearly what Pak Mahfud conveyed was a lie", he added.

Isnur said that based on the video of the incident at Wadas Village, many people have already seen the police violently arresting village residents. Aside from this, there are other videos which show the police violence.

"There were many incidence of violence in the videos. There were many youths including LBH lawyers who were also assaulted, arrested by police", he said.

According to Isnur, Mahfud must personally visit Wadas to look into the facts on the ground. He wants Mahfud to listen directly to the testimonies of residents so he can obtain information which is in accordance with the facts on the ground.

"Pak Mahfud must not listen to only one side of the story, not listen to what he wants to hear, but go there to the community, go to Wadas", he said.

Earlier, Mahfud refuted information and news reports about the tense situation at Wadas Village when police escorted a team from the National Land Agency to measure the land for an andesite rock mine for the planned construction of the Bener Dam.

"All of the information and reports depicting things as if there was a tense atmosphere at Wadas Village yesterday, absolutely did not happen as depicted, especially on social media", said Mahfud during a press conference on Wednesday.

Mahfud also denied that there was any violence against residents. According to Mahfud, the incident which occurred at the village was a result of friction between residents who support andesite rock mining at Wades and residents who oppose the plan.

On Tuesday February 8, fully armed police were deployed to escort a team measuring land for the Bener Dam project in Purworejo.

The police did not just escort the team by also arrested residents who were alleged to have been provocative. At least 67 people were arrested, including among them children and the elderly.

Although police have released scores of the arrested residents, one was declared Covid-19 positive and is now undergoing isolation at a hospital. The police however are still at the Wadas Village providing security for the land measuring team. (cfd/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "YLBHI Runtuhkan Klaim Mahfud soal Insiden Desa Wadas".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20220209194046-20-757220/ylbhi-runtuhkan-klaim-mahfud-soal-insiden-desa-wada