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Moment indigenous tribe threatens workers on their territory in Indonesian rainforest.. before fleeing when bulldozer driver revs engine at them


  • Two Hongana Manyawa tribe members can be seen displaying their  frustration 

This is the moment tribespeople threaten workers on their territory in an Indonesian rainforest before running away when a bulldozer driver revs at them.

The video, the contents of which has been described as evidence of a ‘human rights catastrophe unfolding,’ shows two men from the Hongana Manyawa, a tribe in Halmahera, who live far from outsiders.

The tribespeople can be seen standing across the river assessing the situation. One of the two men, who are both holding spears, points in the direction of the vehicle and raises a sharp object above his head as he moves forwards.

He appears to prepare to launch the object towards the workers while the other man ducks. 

The bulldozer driver then revs up their machine in response, causing the men to flee.

A man from the Hongana Manyawa holding up a small stick towards the bulldozer workers

A man from the Hongana Manyawa holding up a small stick towards the bulldozer workers

He appears to launch the small stick towards the workers before they flee

He appears to launch the small stick towards the workers before they flee

Survival International’s Director Caroline Pearce said: ‘This video documents a human rights catastrophe unfolding.

‘It shows that the logging and mining operations on Halmahera are invading deep into the rainforests of the Hongana Manyawa.’

An estimated 300 to 500 Hongana Manyawa people live in the forested interior of Halmahera, part of the North Maluku province of Indonesia.

Huge areas of their territory have been allocated to mining companies, and in many areas the excavators are already at work.

Weda Bay Nickel (WBN) – a company partly owned by French mining company Eramet – has an enormous mining concession on the island which overlaps with uncontacted Hongana Manyawa territories. 

WBN started mining in 2019 and now operates the largest nickel mine in the world.

German chemical company BASF is planning to partner with Eramet to construct a refining complex in Halmahera. The video was filmed near the WBN concession.

The bulldozer driver revs up their machine in response, causing the men to flee

The bulldozer driver revs up their machine in response, causing the men to flee

Pearce added: ‘For many months, Survival has been warning Eramet, BASF and the electric car companies which need nickel for their batteries that continued mining in this area will destroy the uncontacted Hongana Manyawa, just as similar projects have destroyed other uncontacted peoples in other parts of the world. 

‘If they continue after seeing this video, it would be an act of stunning and brutal disregard both for international law and for human life.

‘These mining companies should stay out of the Hongana Manyawa’s land, period. We call upon the Indonesian government to urgently recognize and protect the Hongana Manyawa’s territory.’

The Halmahera rainforests are usually logged before being mined for nickel. 

The destruction of the Hongana Manyawa’s land is illegal under international law, which says that the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Hongana Manyawa is needed for any industrial project on their territory.

Two nomadic Hongana Manyawa from Halmahera said in a video earlier this year that the forest has belonged to them ‘since the beginning of time’.

‘So please go and tell them I do not give consent,’ one of them urges. 



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