Five suspected Iban tomb raiders arrested

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2003

SIBU: Police arrested yesterday five people suspected of raiding Iban tombs in search of baya or valuables and antiques which were buried together with the dead. 

Sibu police chief Asst Comm Sebastian Gaong said the suspects, aged between 30 and 50, included a former General Operations Force personnel.  

The others are either jobless or farmers. 

They were believed to be involved in the desecration of Iban tombs in Sungai Aup in November last year, he told Bernama here yesterday. 

Police have also set up a special team to probe the desecration of Iban tombs. 

State Commissioner of Police Datuk Mohd Yusoff Jaafar said the Sibu OCPD had been asked to personally supervise the investigations. 

“We can't treat grave robbers lightly due to the seriousness of the crime,'' he added. 

Meanwhile, Ibans from 12 longhouses, whose ancestors are buried in the Batu Burak/Penasu cemetery near Sibu, are holding a special ceremony tomorrow to put a curse on thieves who desecrated the tombs there. 

Last Saturday, longhouse headman Andrew Shilling lodged a police report, saying that 22 tombs there had been dug up, coffins opened and the remains of the dead scattered around after thieves had stolen valuables buried with the dead.  

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