Authority destroys armed criminal group SMB's base camp in Jambi

Authority destroys armed criminal group SMB's base camp in Jambi

Armed criminal gang Serikat Mandiri Batanghari ambushed members of cooperative unit that hold the license to manage community plantation forest (HTR) in Jambi. (ANTARA/HO/special/sh)

Jambi (ANTARA) - The Jambi authority decimated all buildings used as a base camp for Serikat Mandiri Batanghari (SMB), an armed criminal gang in Tanjungjabung Barat District, Jambi, following the group's recent attack on a forest firefighting team.

"(The base camp) was destroyed by a joint conflict management team of Jambi Province by deploying heavy equipment. All buildings in the base camp were razed down," Sigit Eko Yuwono, the team's member, noted here on Thursday.

Yuwono remarked that the team will also set up a crisis center to furnish information to the public on the recent situation in the location in District VIII of PT Wirakarya Sakti (WKS).

"We will coordinate with the local police," he revealed.

Yuwono stated that the team will help some group members, who had been hoodwinked by the group's leader, Muslim, to pay a sum of money to acquire some land. "They are unaware of the fact that the land had been seized from its owner," he pointed out.

The group members would be sent back to their hometowns.

"The Social Affairs Office will handle the process to return them to their hometowns," he stated.

Head of the Investigation Unit of Jambi Police Senior Commissioner M. Edi Faryadi remarked that some 200 SMB members had allegedly committed various crimes.

The Jambi Police has announced that SMB is an armed criminal group, despite its earlier claims of being farmers. The police only retrieved various hand-made firearms and other weapons instead of farming tools.

The group attacked a firefighting team that had attempted to extinguish the fire in Batanghari District on July 13.

The police had named 50 suspects, including its leader Muslim and his wife Deli Fitri.

Before the attack on the firefighting team on July 10, the armed group had clashed with the owner of a community plantation forest in Mersam Sub-district. As a result, the Sengkati Baru Village head suffered grave injuries, while dozens of villagers were beaten up by the group in the incident.

Faryadi confirmed that the police had found 400 other members of the group in its base camp.

The police is yet conducting investigation into the flow of funding to Muslim and his wife and its utilization. It will also probe the finding of a bunker at the base camp.
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EDITED BY INE

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