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Jungle tribal leader Kelesau Naan took on the loggers. It may have cost him his life

Source:  Copyright 2008, Times (UK)
Date:  January 4, 2008
Byline:  Richard Lloyd Parry
Original URL: Status ONLINE


Kelesau Naan never went to school. He signed his name with a thumb print and spent his entire life living in the jungles of Borneo. But among his tribe, the Penan, he was a visionary and an inspiration.

For years, he had organised his people in a desperate defence of their home and heritage: the pristine rain-forest in the deep interior of the Malaysian state of Sarawak.

As headman of the village of Long Kerong, Mr Naan – who was in his 70s but did not know his exact age – had put his name to a lawsuit asserting the Penan’s right of ownership over their native land. He organised blockades of the logging roads to try to prevent the bulldozers and chainsaws destroying his home as they had stripped the rest of the island.

Now he is dead, possibly murdered, allegedly by agents of the loggers whose lucrative business he was putting in jeopardy. His broken skeleton was found last month – two months after he was reported ...

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