Encroachment - Sakai lose land to dark forces



Date of publication: 
17 February 2009

PHATTHALUNG : About 30 Sakai nomadic people have been brutally expelled from their ancestral forest in Pa Bon district by local influential figures and civil servants whose business interests were jeopardised by the tribe’s presence, a source says.

The ethnic minority group, the source said, was an impediment to illegal poaching and logging involving the local mafia and authorities who had encroached on the forest where they were living.

The Sakai were intimidated by b rutal tactics and forced out of settled areas in a wildlife sanctuary on Bantad mountain range so the poachers could gain access to the nature reserve, the source claimed.

Phatthalung governor Suthep Komolpamorn said authorities were ordered to look into the claims. If civil servants played a part in the illegal poaching and logging at a cost to the Sakai, they would face harsh punishment, he said.

Sakai nomads are native residents of the southern part of the country. There are now only 150 tribespeople who live off the land in the area around Phatthalung.