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Village Unrest Claims Victim

Traditional Village Turf Tussle Erupts into Violence.

(6/9/2002) Clashes between the residents of the villages of Culik and Kebon in Bali's northeast regency of Karangasem turned briefly violent on Tuesday, June 6, 2002, resulting in the death of a 70 year-old farmer. The man perished when 30 homes and shops were burnt in an episode of rioting.

A dispute among neighbors over the rights to community owned parcels of land and temple suddenly turned violent when the people of Kebon attempted to unilaterally declare the formation of a new traditional village or desa adat. A religious ceremony, at Pura Penataran Kebon Agung temple, meant to formally inaugurate the new unit, angered the residents of Culik who felled trees across roads leading to the location to prevent the participation of local government authorities.

The tense situation between the residents of two villages escalated resulting in the burning of 30 homes and small businesses in Kebon. The 70 year-old villager who lost his life in the fires, Mr. I Nengah Migum, was reportedly ill and bedridden at the time of the fire, preventing his evacuation to safety.

The conflict caused traffic around Bali's northeast coast to come to a complete standstill for a day with movement only returning to normal on the following day, Wednesday.

Local Press reports indicate that following the violent outbreak, the two warring factions - members of each sharing family ties, finally managed to hold talks that resulted in the revocation of the declaration of the new village unit and outlined steps to ensure the residents of Kebon receive greater attention in local administrative issues in the future.