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Pungka Simamora, Aek Lung, North Sumatra, Indonesia

“We built 15 farm huts on our land, which Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) burned, but we are committed to never back down from this fight until we regain our traditionally-owned land. To this day we must continue the fight against TPL. We must protect and maintain our traditionally-owned land that our ancestors have passed on to us. If I were to be shot dead, I’m ready.”

Answer

In 2005, the Indigenous community of Aek Lung mounted a resistance movement to reclaim their land from pulp giant Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL). Community members began planting their own crops on their land after it was cleared to provide for their livelihoods and feed their families. TPL responded with a series of tactics to intimidate and criminalize the community including: threats from armed police and military, killing crops, burning down farming huts, and arresting farmers.

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