Nunukan. Hundreds of junior high school students in Nunukan, North Kalimantan, were forced from their classrooms as a result of a land dispute gone wrong.
Some 800 students of Nunukan 1 Junior High were asked to vacate the premises on Wednesday as approximately 10 men arrived at their school intending to seal the classrooms.
The incident was sparked by an argument between a resident and the Public Order Agency regarding the ownership of the land on which the school stands
One of the residents, Azis, claimed to be the rightful owner and that the land dispute case had been dragging on in court since 2003.
He stated he had met with Nunukan councilors demanding compensation of Rp 2,500,000 ($210) per square meter of the 1.5 hectare land.
He said the Nunukan administration ignored his repeated requests for compensation and filed a lawsuit against them.
“I have sufficient evidence to prove that I am the rightful owner of the land. I have a land certificate on behalf of my late brother Usman,” he said, adding he also had an official letter stating that Usman was the owner of the land and a signed payment receipt which Usman received when the land was purchased in 1989.
The seals on the classrooms were opened when local police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Robert Silindur arrived on the scene.
“This is unacceptable, if you have a lawyer please entrust this case to your lawyer and we will process the case accordingly,” Robert said,
According to the Consortium for Agrarian Reform, in 2012, there were 7,196 land disputes, up from 2,791 in 2011, the National Land Agency, a government office, recorded. Of these, only 60 percent were resolved.
Earlier this year at least 15 officers were injured and seven villagers were shot during a clash at the Barumun Tengah Police station in North Sumatra, in what police officers say was retaliation for arrests made the previous night over an ongoing land dispute.
Five people had been detained for allegedly vandalizing a local administration office and injuring a Barumun government official.