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Journalist killed in vicious confrontation between villagers

An Indonesian journalist was hacked to death on 21 August while covering clashes between two villages, report the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and other IFEX members. The journalist's murder is a stark example of a culture of impunity as police watched the attack and did nothing.

Journalist Ridwan Salamun was covering a conflict between Banda Eli and Fiditan villagers in the south-eastern Tual area of the Maluku islands when he was stabbed repeatedly. He worked for the Jakarta-based Sun TV.

The incident started when residents of Banda Eli reportedly told a motorcyclist from Fiditan to not drive so fast through their village. The motorcyclist then returned with some friends to attack Banda Eli residents. At least one person was reportedly injured and houses were damaged during the fight. Salamun, a resident of Banda Eli, was struck by machetes when he tried to cover the fighting. He died later in hospital.

A group of 70 journalists staged a demonstration of solidarity in Denpasar, Bali, the next day, while a similar rally took place in Jakarta by members of a journalists' group.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the existing culture of impunity. IFJ "has learned that local police in Tual are reportedly aware of who is responsible for the senseless and brutal killing of Ridwan Salamun, but have not taken steps to arrest them."

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