Indigenous peoples dispute 53 hectares of land bought by Merauke Police Chief

Indigenous peoples
A number of ulayat owners from the Sosom Salor indigenous community met the Merauke Police Chief AKBP Untung Sangaji to complain about the land dispute - Jubi/Emanuel Riberu

Merauke, Jubi – A number of Tanah Miring residents visited the Merauke Police on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, to dispute a 53-hectare land in Yaba Maru Village SP 9, Tanah Miring District. The land was purchased by Merauke Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Untung Sangaji from a resident, HK, in 2021, with the plan to build a police station, Mobile Brigade dormitory, journalists’ housing, and other facilities on the land.

A resident named Stakius Bokai Basik-Basik claimed the land purchased by the Merauke Police chief from HK belonged to his clan. HK and his group are suspected to have carried out land grabbing several years ago.

“We went to the police to report HK and several other people who took our land. We only found out that the land was sold after the land release event was held in June 2022,” Basik-Basik told Jubi in Merauke Regency.

Basik-Basik asked the police to process his complaints and examine the reported parties, as well as the land release letter given by HK to the Merauke Police chief.

“HK’s group threatened to get us arrested if we sued the land. That’s why we are here to report this case and hope the police can help solve it,” he said.

In addition to the 53-hectare land, some other indigenous peoples are also disputing the 30-hectare land in the Chocolate Garden area of the Tanah Miring District, where the land was used as a motorcycle racing circuit by the local government after being sold by HK.

“HK and his group do not have rights to these two plots of land (Yaba Maru and Chocolate Garden). The land belongs to us, the indigenous people of Sosom Salor,” said the traditional leader of Salor Village, Martinus Samkakai.

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Responding to these complaints, Merauke Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Untung Sangaji said he would summon all conflicting parties to resolve the issue. “We will have a meeting to confirm who the real owner of the land is,” said Untung.

Regarding the 53-hectare land, Untung explained that before buying, he had checked who the owner of the land was with the community and the village head. “Before the land release, we put up a sign that the land will be built for the Police Dormitory and community housing. They should have come at that time and objected,” he said.

“But it’s okay,” he added. “We will clear this problem. If these people truly own the lands, the seller must be responsible. I have not paid part of it so if the seller proved wrong, I will give part of the payment to those entitled to the land”. (*)

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