A Brother's Bravery
Another croc story emerged this morning when the family of the late Debelin Ak Nyambong, the crocodile victim at Skrang dropped by the office. Tuai Rumah Dakun Ak Nyambong who is the brother of the victim informed us on the sightings of the suspected killer along the Skrang River near their longhouse. He raised his concern about how it raised fear amongst the longhouse folks who think that the crocodile may attack again. The attack which took place on 30th September 2009 at 11.30 am took the life of Debeline Nyambong, 50, from Rumah Dukun, Rambai Skrang, in the Engkilili area. Debeline was having a bath in the river with his wife and daughter. When the crocodile pulled him he managed to tell the wife to stay out of the water.
Tuai Rumah Dakun related to us on that fateful day, he heard the commotion in the river and was informed that a crocodile had dragged his brother into the murky water. He immediately went with the other longhouse folks to search for croc and the victim. Tuai Rumah Dakun is well versed with the area and he knows where the possible area that the body may be hidden by the croc as crocodiles do not immediately eat their victim but instead hide it underwater until it rots. He told us that he dived into these few areas himself while the rest of the search party stayed in their boats. "Ka pen enggai, nya madik aku" (Fear is not a factor, that is my brother). He also do not want the body of his brother to be found half eaten until it is discovered. He stayed in the water until he could no longer hold his breath. He never gave up and dived again until he reach the the bottom. "It was sandy down there and I must have dived about six metres. I could walk on the river bottom. I could not see anything and had to reach out using my hands to search. I finally held on to somethiing that felt like a leg. My hands were feeling without seeing anything and I found out that it was a body, ("Nuan nya?" "Is that you?" he asked in his mind), and I pulled it with all my strength".
The search party recovered the body at about 1 pm, about an hour and half after the attack. There was an incision on the stomach and bite marks on the leg. Tuai Rumah Dakun also told us that the Police and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation have made several efforts to look for the killer. Some crocodile catcher's services were also requested. He did mention that some crocodiles were caught but not the killer. Now that the Police and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation has left the area the recent sighting has caused him and the late Debelin's sons, Mr. Johnical and Mr. Edmond to hunt for the crocodile. I told him that he needs a licence to kill the crocodile as I recalled the statement made by Forestry Department Director "We can issue licences to kill these crocodile, especially if there is an attack but by doing so, we also end up being criticised. If the animal is a threat and is declared to be a danger to life or property as in the recent case, hunting, killing or capturing the said animal involved in the attack is allowed in accordance with the provision made in the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998." in NST dated 5 Oct 2009. The Forest Department is stringent when issuing licenses to hunt or kill the reptile.
After advicing Tuai Rumah Dakun, he answered that "Nyawa madik aku udah ditaban bayanya, aku agi enda puas ati" (The life of my brother has been taken away by the Crocodile, I am still not satisfied"). Hearing this from someone who dived into a crocodile's territory to recover his brother's body, when no one else dared, so it is my hope that the Forestry Department or those relevant authorities can assist as we do not have a full fledged Forestry Department or Sarawak Forestry Corporation in Sri Aman that can really assist. Tuai Rumah Dakun informed us that the Forestry personnels had left for Serian to attend more urgent matters. Maybe it would be good if thet can elaborate more on the Wild Life Ordinance clauses on why crocodiles are important to the ecosystem meaning that their population are allowed to outgrow the humans? Cullings (control of crocodile population) can be introduced maybe - but lets leave that to the experts. Tuai Rumah Dakun thanked us before he left the Resident Office and I could still see the anger and rage in his eyes. Though he's small in stature compared to my bulky build, he has a bigger heart and bravery carved of stone. God Speed Tuai Rumah Dakun.