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Police storm Wadas Village, arrest 63 including children for opposing mining project

CNN Indonesia - February 9, 2022

Jakarta – A resident of Wadas Village has reported that scores of police units entered their village in the Bener sub-district of Purworejo regency, East Java, on the morning of Wednesday February 9.

The resident, who did not want to reveal their name, said that the total number of police officers that arrived could not be confirmed.

"Update, this morning, the police have sent scores of units", said the resident when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Wednesday.

The resident said that people at Wadas Village are still being intimidated by police, with officers reportedly continuing to conduct sweeps throughout the Wadas area.

"[They're still patrolling], since yesterday. There were also patrols last night. So it's like intimidation", they said.

As a consequence of the patrols, they revealed, village residents are afraid to leave their homes to conduct normal activities.

"Currently people are still hiding in their homes. Just wanting to go to the garden makes us uneasy", they said.

According to the latest reports, there has been no electricity available in Wadas Village since the afternoon of Tuesday February 8. Residents suspect that the electricity was intentionally cut off so that people would find it difficult to charge their mobile phones.

"My mobile phone's dead, I've got to look for a power bank. It's intentional so that we can't communicate with the outside", said another resident when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

As has been reported, hundreds of police personnel laid siege to and forced their way into the Wadas Village on Tuesday morning. The police swept the village and removed banners containing messages opposing a planned andesite rock mine to provide materials for the construction of the Bener Dam project.

The police also arrested scores of residents who allegedly resisted police. At least 63 were arrested ranging from the elderly to underage children. The police claim they came to assist a team from the National Land Agency (BPN) to measure the land for the Bener Dam project.

East Java regional police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Iqbal Alqudussy explained that the scores of arrested people were taken away because they acted in an anarchic manner and obstructed government officials.

"There were 23 people who were secured and taken directly to the Bener sectoral police for interrogation", Alqudussy told journalists. (blq/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Warga Terintimidasi, Makin Banyak Polisi Kepung Desa Wadas Hari Ini".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20220209084458-20-756834/warga-terintimidasi-makin-banyak-polisi-kepung-desa-wadas-hari-in