SANDAKAN (Bernama) – The Sabah Forestry Department (JPS) has demolished 11 houses built illegally in the mangrove forest in the district in a second operation against such squatters.
JPS director Datuk Sam Mannan said yesterday five people were also arrested during the integrated operation against the squatters on Sept 29.
This second operation against the squatters was carried out in four locations, namely Sekong Kecil; Sedungor; Sepinong and Papahan, on the fringe of Sandakan Bay and the Elopura (Class V) Mangrove Forest Reserve, he said in a statement.
He said three unoccupied houses were demolished in Sekong Kecil, three (with five occupants) in Sedungor and five (unoccupied) in Sepinong.
One newly-built house with five occupants was detected in Papahan, he added.
Sam said the encroached area of the settlement was estimated at 17.3 hectares, including two hectares that were discovered in the second raid.
A total of 130 personnel, 80 from JPS and 50 from enforcement agencies, took part in the operation, he said.
He said a forest rehabilitation project, involving the cultivation of suitable mangrove plants, would be carried out at the site of the illegal settlement soon.
The first operation against the squatters was conducted on May 26. Thirteen squatters were arrested and 88 illegal houses were demolished.