Three Orang Asli activists in Kelantan have lodged police reports after they were detained by men allegedly posing as police officers.
The trio, Mustafa Along, Manglo A/L Tegau and another activist named Salim, were involved in a blockade along a logging trail deep in the interior of Gua Musang, which was reportedly destroyed yesterday.
The Star reported Mustafa, who is the Kelantan Network of Orang Asli Villages secretary, as saying that the heads of logging companies in the area had visited the blockade together with “police and Forestry Department officers” as well as “aggressive workers”.
“As we held the blockade we were threatened and provoked to end it,” Mustafa was quoted as saying.
After an exchange of words, he was then detained by the “police officers”, who declined to handcuff him.
Mustafa said the alleged bogus officers had shown some identification, but he did not get a good look.
“I was taken to a four-wheel drive vehicle, which I believe belongs to a worker from a logging company,” he said.
Manglo and Salim were detained soon after.
“We were arrested but not arrested officially. The aim was just to frighten the others,” Mustafa said.
The trio were later released from their detention.
The Star reports that it had received video taken by the Orang Asli activists, showing loggers cutting down the barricade along Pos Tohoi and Pos Simpoi with chainsaws.
After breaking the barricade, a logging lorry drove through and an armed man in it reportedly fired warning shots at the Orang Asli.
“A vehicle with two people inside stopped in front of us, and one of them took his rifle out and fired,” an activist named Halim said, adding that the armed man then fired a second shot.
Undeterred by yesterday’s incident, the Orang Asli reportedly rebuilt their blockade, which was first set up on Monday.
Gua Musang police chief Rajab Ahad Ismail when contacted, told Malaysiakini that police officers were not involved in the trio’s arrest.