Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - Two men allegedly involved in murdering two journalists in a palm oil plantation in Labuhanbatu District, North Sumatra, in October were taken into police arrest, the province’s Police spokesman, Adjunct Sen. Coms. MP Nainggolan, stated.

The suspects, only identified by their initials as VS, 49, and SH, 55, were arrested from their respective houses on early Tuesday (Nov 5) at around 1 a.m. local time, Nainggolan informed journalists here on Wednesday.

Following the arrests of VS and SH, the police investigators have continued to lookout for four other suspects, who remain fugitives, he remarked, adding that the motives behind the killings of Maratua Parasian Siregar, 42, and Maraden Sianipar, 55, might be related to revenge.

VS and SH are the residents of Hamlet VI of Sei Siali in Wonosari Village, Panai Hilir Sub-district, Labuhanbatu District. The suspects exacted revenge against the two journalists over an agricultural land for palm oil plantation.

"The police investigators continue to probe this murder case," he remarked.

The bodies of these two ill-fated journalists were found in a ditch of PT SAB/KSU Amelia Palm Oil Plantation in Labuhanbatu District on Oct 30-31, 2019.

Despite Indonesian journalists having relatively enjoyed freedom of press since the fall of the Soeharto regime in 1998, violent acts against crusading journalists continue unabated.

On Sept 24, 2019, for instance, journalists were on the receiving end of violent acts in Makassar, the capital city of South Sulawesi Province, during a violent student rally.

Three journalists sustained injuries, including Muh Darwin Fatir of Indonesia's national news agency, Antara, who was beaten on his head and kicked in the stomach by a policeman as proven by the visible shoe marks.

On Sept 25, 2019, the acts of violence against crusading media workers also took place in Palu, Central Sulawesi Province.

In response to this case, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Central Sulawesi Office, appealed to the police chief of the province to investigate the policemen, who had allegedly committed acts of violence against journalists and students during a protest in Palu on September 25.

The commission's head, Dedi Askary, confirmed to having received a report from the Coalition of the Anti-Violence Society coordinator containing the policemen's alleged acts of violence against journalists and students during the recent rally. Related news: Police urged to investigate violence against journalists in Palu
Related news: Military to follow up on acts of violence against journalists: Commander


Translator: Munawar M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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