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Police exhume skeletal remains of Penan chief

The Sarawak police have exhumed the skeletal remains of a 71-year-old Penan chief from a burial site deep in the forests of Long Kerong in northern Sarawak to determine the cause of his death following complaints from his family that he had died under “suspicious” circumstances in a logging concession zone.

A team of police officers from the Marudi police station, some 200km from here, travelled to Long Kerong and carried out the exhumation of Kelesau Neng’s body over the past two days following a top-level directive from the police headquarters in Kuching and Bukit Aman, a source told The Star yesterday.

The remains were ferried using river and land transportation from Long Kerong, where Kelesau and his family resided, to the Miri Hospital mortuary under heavy police escort.

A hospital source said yesterday that preparations would be made for forensic tests to be conducted on the bones as soon as possible to find out the cause of his death.

Kelesau went missing late in October last year after he went for a hunting trip inside a logging concession zone surrounding his settlement.

In late December, Kelesau’s family members lodged police reports in Marudi , the main town nearest to Long Kerong, after they discovered a skeleton next to a riverbank near the logging camp.

The family believe that he had died under suspicious circumstances based on the condition of his remains.

Two weeks ago, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) in Kuala Lumpur appealed to the police to investigate the matter, saying that his family had strong reasons to suspect foul play.

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