Borneo Tribal Chief Murdered for Resisting Timber Beast

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“This is not the first time that Penans involved in anti-logging
activity have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.”

“More recently palm oil plantations have increased pressure
on the forests.”
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http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0103-borneo_hance.html

Rainforest chief killed in Borneo for his opposition to logging
Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com
January 3, 2008

Keleasu Naan, a Penan chieftain and longtime activist against
logging, disappeared in October while checking animal traps. His
tribes’ worst fears were confirmed when they found what they believed
to be Naan’s remains last month. According to the Associated Press,
the chieftain’s nephew, Michael Ipa, has stated that the body had
several broken bones, leading Ipa to believe that “he has been killed
by people involved in logging”.

Keleasu Naan had been one of the key figures in the Penan community’s
fight against logging. He was also a plaintiff and witness in a land
rights claim that has been awaiting trial since 1998.

One-hundred Penan villagers walked sixty miles this week to lodge a
report at the closest police station and demand an investigation into
Naan’s death. This is not the first time that Penans involved in
anti-logging activity have disappeared under mysterious
circumstances. Two activist Penans disappeared in the 1990s. In 2000,
Bruno Manser, a Swiss environmentalist and champion of Penan rights,
also disappeared in the jungle. No sign of him has been found, and
some believe he was assassinated.

Logging in Borneo has been rampant since the 1980’s. In 2005 just
over 50% of Borneo’s forest remained. More recently palm oil
plantations have increased pressure on the forests. Naan’s Penan
community had managed to keep logging out of what the villagers claim
is their ancestral land, but they now believe that several timber
companies plan to resume logging. Aboriginal peoples of the
Malaysia’s Sarawek region, the Penans number around 10,000. They
currently live in settlements, but have not completely abandoned
their traditional nomadic ways. They subsist off small gardens,
hunting, and gathering. Since so much of the Penan’s resources come
from the forest, its disappearance may mark their own.
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