Friday, April 24, 2009
A Sabah Forestry Vehicle damaged by Poachers during the rampage
source - The Star Online
They normally hunt and kill animals in the wild but this time, a group of poachers brutally attacked a remote Forestry Department camp and left a senior officer seriously injured.
Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said some 20 people armed with machetes, hockey sticks, samurai swords, hunting knives and brass knuckles attacked the camp in the remote Ulu Segama-Malua forest reserve.
He said district forest officer Indra Sunjoto was dragged, slashed, beaten and left unconscious in the 9pm incident on April 2. Indra was badly bruised and sustained a deep gash in the head that required several stitches.
Mannan said police could not be alerted immediately as the wireless phone service in Ulu Segama had broken down.
He said that as an immediate measure, the police had deployed General Operations Force personnel to the forest reserve which was undergoing extensive reforestation work.
Soon after the attack, police in Lahad Datu arrested two men.
Mannan said the Forestry Department had also engaged a security firm with armed personnel to guard the base camp and forest rangers carrying out patrols.
As a long-term measure, the department is applying for a gun licence so that field personnel in critical areas can defend themselves, he said.
Apart from attacking Indra, Mannan said the rampaging poachers also ransacked the staff quarters, carting away food, meat and motorcycles.
The attack may have been triggered by Indra having stopped a poacher earlier that day who managed to escape but left behind fresh deer meat and a motorcycle, he added.
He said the attackers were believed to be a group of men who had been habitually entering the forest reserve to hunt for deer and other protected species including elephants and clouded leopards.
Mannan said prior to the attack there had been skirmishes between the illegal hunters and staff members of Yayasan Sabah, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Forestry Department.