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Swiss environmentalist missing in Borneo

Missing activist Bruno Manser.

(Keystone / Doris Kraettli)

The Swiss environmental campaigner Bruno Manser gone missing in Malaysia, according to reports in the "SonntagsZeitung". Manser's family and the foundation he set up have already alerted the Swiss authorities.

Daniela Stoffel, a Swiss foreign ministry spokeswoman, confirmed that the country's embassy had been coordinating a search for Manser, who went missing in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on Borneo island. But there had been no news from the 46-year-old activist for six months.

Manser, a long-standing defender of the rain forest, was working with the Penan tribe, which is threatened by logging operations. He has spent around six years fighting for their cause.

He was arrested in the spring of 1999 in Sarawak, which he is banned from visiting, after leading a group of Penans to the state governor's residence. The authorities deported him to Switzerland.

He faced a fine equivalent to SFr5,000, and five years in prison, if he returned to Sarawak.

In August 1999 Manser was fined SFr800 for negligence after the theft of his bag that contained 150 poisoned arrows, destined for an exhibition at the botanical gardens in St Gallen.

swissinfo with agencies

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