Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Iban arrested on suspicion of 'masterminding' blockade



Kapit, Sarawak – Ondie anak Jugah, 55, an indigenous Dayak-Iban, has been arrested and remanded today on suspicion of ‘masterminding’ a blockade at Rh Umping Lepong in Balleh, Kapit. He was taken in by the police after three reports were made by the logging company, Melukun Sdn Bhd, who is logging in the longhouse community’s native land area. Nine people, including two women, were at the blockade when Ondie was arrested. The police indicate that he will be remanded for a night for investigation.

In the meantime, the longhouse community has reaffirmed their determination to continue their blockade.

The arrest is the latest in a series of arrests and detentions occurring as a result of the decades old conflict between Indigenous peoples and the logging and oil palm companies that have encroached onto their native territories. While Sarawak constitution and laws provide for the recognition of native land rights, weak government leadership and policy has led to the issuance of logging and oil palm permits in the same areas where indigenous peoples live.

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