Thailand: Indigenous expelled from homeland for interfering with illegal logging

Phatthalung — Around 30 Sagai nomadic people have been expelled from
their ancestral forest in Pa Bon district by local influential figures
and civil servants whose business interests were jeopardised by the
tribal presence, a source in the province said. The source said that
the ethnic minority group was a stumbling block to the illegal
poaching and logging trades involving the local mafia and authorities
who encroached the forest where they were living.

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The ethnic people were intimidated by force to leave the settled areas
in a wildlife sanctuary on Bantad mountain range so that the poachers
could gain access to the nature reserve for their illegal activities,
according to the source, who added that they had left the ancestral
forest for safety concerns.

Phatthalung governor Suthep Komolpamorn said authorities were ordered to look into the claims. If the civil servants played a part in the illegal poaching and logging at a cost to Sagai ethnic group, they would face harsh punishment, he said.

Sagai nomads are native residents living in the southern part of the
country. There are only 150 Sagai tribespeople who live off the land
in the area around Phatthalung.

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