SERIAN: The incident which saw five Malaysians being kidnapped and being detained overnight by the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) in the forests of Wong Rangkai, Balai Ringin on Dec 11, took place within Malaysian territory.
This was based on the border coordinate points recorded by the Malaysian investigation team on the incident.
The incident saw five Malaysians from Kampung Danau Melikin being removed to TNI border post at Sungai Enteli near the Sarawak-West Kalimantan border, where they were imprisoned and allegedly roughed-up overnight.
Sources revealed that all five victims who are related were detained in forests which had been gazetted as Native Customary Rights (NCR) land belonging to the villagers and which had been cultivated for hill rice all this while.
A mapping officer who was part of the investigating team also confirmed that the incident location was within the territories of Malaysia.
"The location where the incident took place had also been frequented by the victims to cut down trees and obtain timber for the construction of their new long house.
"The TNI members had crossed over the international border between the countries and detained the Malaysians outside their area of jurisdiction," the source said.
The revelation by Malaysian authorities rejected allegations by an Indonesian news portal quoting a TNI spokesperson as saying that the Malaysians were arrested for cutting down tree in Indonesian territory.
The report also stated that the TNI denied allegations that they demanded a sum of RM10,000 to release the victims aged between 15 to 64-years-old. The money was instead offered to resolve the 'problem'.
Kampung Danau, Wong Rangkai is located 400 meters from the Sarawak-West Kalimantan border.
On Dec 11 the five Malaysians from Sarawak were held at gunpoint and bundled into their pickup, allegedly by two Indonesian soldiers who had encroached on Malaysian territory.
Five kidnapped victims were identified as Ruby Nyalu, 30; Welly Mandah, 19; Lionel Lawrence, 15; Sanjan Ambo, 64, and Langgong Ambo, 48.
They were ordered to drive across the border and a ransom was demanded for their release.
The five, aged between 15 and 64, were harvesting wood at the Wong Rangkai forest near Kampung Danau Melikin, 400m from the Serian-Kalimantan border, when they were approached by two men in military fatigues.
They were armed with 5.56mm Pindad SS-1 assault rifles, the standard weapon issued for TNI personnel.
The five were allegedly ambushed near the WFM Melikin oil palm estate in Balai Ringin.
After capturing the victims, the Indonesians forced them into their vehicle nearby, and ordered them to drive across the Kalimantan border to the Indonesian command post in Sungai Enteli.
Throughout the journey, the soldiers had allegedly roughed up the five Malaysians and threatened to shoot them. At one point, one soldier fired off two rounds from his rifle to scare the victims.