Jungle likely to be hideout

IF FUGITIVE Mas Selamat Kastari is holed up in one of Singapore’s sprawling forests, chances are he can hold out almost indefinitely, according to survival experts.

They say the country’s most wanted man could dine on an array of fruits, plant shoots and small animals while he hides from authorities’ waging the biggest manhunt in Singapore history.

The comments come as police and special forces scour jungles across the island in search of Mas Selamat.

The reputed head of a local Jemaah Islamiah terror cell broke out of a detention centre on Whitley Road last Wednesday and authorities believe he is still on the island.

The most verdant spots for a prolonged hideout include places like Mandai, Yishun, Lim Chu Kang and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, say experts.

Retired trainer of the Singapore Armed Forces commando soldiers, Tamiselvam, 57, said there were wild fruit, coconut and palm tree shoots, and tropical plants in Mandai.

Small animals, like iguana, snakes and flying squirrels could also be caught for meat, said Tamiselvam. Yishun was rife with coastal food like sea shells, he added.

As well, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was rich in edible plants and fish, said a former chairman at the Nature Society (Singapore), Sutari Supari, 57.

“All the fern shoots, like bird’s nest ferns, and all the freshwater fish in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are edible,” he said.

“Whatever you see the hornbills, monkeys and squirrels eating, it’s safe to eat,” he said.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was the site of day six of the massive search for Mas Selamat.

Tuesday saw the security forces trekking up Singapore’s highest peak – the 164m Bukit Timah hill.

At 8am, joggers and students on a hike were greeted by the sight of about 300 officers from the Special Operations Command and over 200 Nepalese Gurkhas searching the undergrowth and tunnels of the reserve. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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