Locating Orang Asli graves will take time, say Kelantan cops

Hazmat personnel from the Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department take water samples at the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang June 11, 2019. — Bernama pic
Hazmat personnel from the Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department take water samples at the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang June 11, 2019. — Bernama pic

KOTA BARU, June 11 — The police operation to locate the graves of 12 Orang Asli from the Batek tribe, said to have died of pneumonia in Kampung Kuala Koh here over the past month, will take some time, Kelantan Police Chief Datuk Hasanuddin Hassan said today.

He said based on information received, all 12 were said to have succumbed to a ‘mysterious disease’ in the past month but were not buried Kampung Kuala Koh, and instead their remains were taken out of the village by family members.

“What is known is that the bodies were buried or placed deep in the jungles somewhere else. The police and the other agencies are trying our best to locate this burial location.

“These kinds of operations can be difficult and for sure will take a long time as the bodies have been moved quite a distance out of the village,” he told reporters at the State Police Contingent Headquarters here.

He said the General Operations Force (GOF), the Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA) and the Health Ministry are expected to begin the search operations very soon.

Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ministry and other agencies will do their best to locate the bodies and carry out forensic tests to help determine the actual cause of their deaths.

The plight of the Batek tribe in Kampung Kuala Koh came to attention after two of them were suspected to have died of pneumonia early this month. — Bernama