Indigenous activists in Borneo claim win as logging firm removes equipment from disputed area

Indigenous activists in Borneo claim win as logging firm removes equipment from disputed area

Malaysian timber giant Samling has removed logging equipment from a long-disputed area in Sarawak state’s Upper Baram Forest Area, in what the Penan Indigenous community is calling a win for forest protection. In May and June, organizations monitoring some of the last untouched forest in the Bornean state captured satellite and drone imagery they say shows Samling Timber entering deep forest and culturally sensitive areas near the Batu Siman mountain, according to a joint press release from the Penan Indigenous organization Keruan, the Bruno Manser Fund and the Borneo Project. In response, Penan community members on July 9 filed a police complaint against Samling, a giant concessionaire based in the Sarawak city of Miri, and planned to begin blockading the site July 16. However, Komeok Joe, the head of Keruan, said group members saw Samling workers had dismantled and moved equipment from the area by July 15. Joe said he wasn’t sure why equipment was moved, but that he was happy to see the operation stopped and holds no animosity toward the company as long as it doesn’t encroach on the community’s land. “We are willing to cooperate, even with Samling and the government, to protect this area, because this area is for all” to appreciate, he said, adding that Indigenous activists had still erected blockades to affirm their commitment to protecting the forest. Satellite images show what appear to be new logging roads in the Batu Siman area. Annina Aeberli, a Switzerland-based campaigner for the Bruno Manser Fund, said…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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