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Authorities to ask Malaysia to search for missing campaigner

One of the last pictures of Manser, before he returned to Borneo.

(http://www.peterknechtli.ch/ManserVermisstHintergrund)

The Swiss authorities are set to formally ask the Malaysian authorities for help finding the missing Basel rain forest activist, Bruno Manser. Nothing has been heard from Manser since his disappearance on Borneo island six months ago.

Daniela Stoffel, a spokeswoman for the Swiss foreign ministry, said that Manser's family had called on Bern on Monday to make a formal approach.

John Künzli, a spokesman for the Bruno Manser Foundation said an official search was in the activist's best interests.

Manser was banned from Malaysia's Sarawak province, on Borneo island, after his public campaigning for the Penan tribe. The Penans are one of the world's last nomadic forest peoples, and activists say they are in danger from logging.

The Malaysian authorities have been trying to make the Penans live in fixed settlements.

The Swiss activist spent six years living with the Penans and publicising their cause. He was arrested and deported by the Malaysian authorities in the spring of 1999, and threatened with a fine and imprisonment if he returned.

But he nonetheless went back secretly to Borneo in May this year.

swissinfo with agencies


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