Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an investigation into a beheading incident on Sumatra island after a disturbing video was shown in parliament, his spokesman said on Thursday.
Officials said a land dispute between the palm-oil plantation company PT Silva Inhutani and villagers triggered the violence in April in the Mesuji sub-district, South Sumatra province.
A group of people hired by the company had allegedly assaulted villagers, damaged houses and beheaded three people in front of a crowd, villagers told lawmakers on Wednesday, as reported by the Jakarta Post newspaper.
"The president has ordered the security minister and national police chief to form a team to investigate the Mesuji incident," presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told reporters.
Disturbing video obtained by AFP showed gory scenes of at least three beheadings.
Footage of the incident showed a masked man dressed in camouflage using a small dagger to decapitate another man lying face-down on a road.
Gunshots were heard, prompting the perpetrator to drag the victim onto a grassy patch to finish the beheading.
He then handed the bloody dismembered head to a hooded man in black with a rifle slung over his chest.
In another scene, a decapitated body in jeans and a T-shirt is shown tied to a pole, while two dismembered heads are depicted on the roof of a utility truck with a windscreen seemingly shattered by a gunshot.
National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said they are searching for eight people in connection to the violence.
The company could not be reached for comment.© ANP/AFP