By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Dec 24: The Consulate General of Indonesia in Kuching hopes the recent kidnapping case in Sarawak is an isolated one.
“We hope this is an isolated case. As of now, bilateral ties between both sides (Sarawak and Indonesia) are not affected. Those seeking medical care in Sarawak continue as usual, and trading for both sides is still ongoing,” said a Consulate General of Indonesia spokesperson here when contacted by DayakDaily today.
Five Sarawakians aged between 15 and 64 were abducted at gunpoint by Indonesian soldiers while allegedly harvesting wood at the Wong Rangkai forest near Kampung Danau Melikin, some 400m from the Serian-Kalimantan border on Dec 11.
Accusing the five of stealing wood from the Indonesian side, the two armed soldiers, believed to be from Tentera Nasional Indonesia (TNI), forced the five into a vehicle and drove them to the Indonesian command post in Sg Enteli.
Two shots were fired and the five Sarawakians were allegedly forced to admit that they were stealing wood from Indonesia.
Two of them were later released to inform the families of the hostages to hand over RM10,000 plus two new chainsaws.
The duo, however, went straight to the Balai Ringin military camp to report the incident. A line of communication was immediately established with the Indonesians, and this led to the release of the remaining three hostages the following day (Dec 12).
When DayakDaily reached out to the police for updates yesterday, a police source said police had closed the case, but the Malaysian army was still investigating the case and holding talks with the TNI.
According to a police report, the area near where the five Sarawakians were abducted is very close to the Indonesian border. It was alleged that every so often, Indonesian soldiers from a nearby command post would encroach the border and threaten villagers wandering too close by apprehending them and demanding payment.
Police said such incidences were causing security concerns among villagers living near the border. — DayakDaily