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Friday, June 23, 2017

15 days on, father who went to swamp still missing

Yanting Baran’s relatives resort to help from bomohs and conduct special prayers to find him after he went missing in a mangrove swamp.
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KOTA MARUDU: The children of a 68-year old man from a rural village here are agonising over his fate after attempts to locate him failed since he went missing 15 days ago while searching for palm shoots in a mangrove swamp.
Yanting Baran had gone to the swamp in Kampung Mangkupa Popok on the morning of June 6 but never returned.
His daughter Juinie, 37, lodged a police report on June 8, prompting search and rescue parties made up of the police, the civil defence force, people’s volunteer corps (Rela), fire and rescue department, as well as local villagers to comb the area but without any result.
The operations were eventually put on hold on Thursday, but are likely to continue after Hari Raya.
“We have tried everything, including using bomohs (shamans) and having special prayers for him to be found but to no avail,” Juinie told FMT today.
“We make a living by planting and selling tobacco, but it is impossible to live off tobacco during bad weather. So we go to the swamp about twice a week to find palm shoots to supplement our income,” she said.
“We never expected that our father would go missing during one of his visits to the swamp that day.
“I myself always go to the place to find palm shoots. They are easy to find. I’ve thought about finding other work but this village work is easy to do,” she added.
Juinie said the family was appreciative of the various parties for their search efforts.
“Our father is divorced from our mother, but she lives next door,” she said. “I have five kids, aged between two and 16.”
She said her 26-year-old brother who lives in Semporna also came over to look for Yanting.
“We’re all worried about him and miss him, especially my children,” she said, adding that they have been pining for their grandfather.
“The search and rescue parties have been working very hard to look for Father. We joined them too but they worked harder than we did,” she added.
“After I made the police report, I was still preoccupied in thinking about him but the search workers had already jumped to look for him. I have to commend them for their dedication.”
Juinie refused to entertain any negative ideas about what may have happened to him despite the search parties finding crocodiles in the swampy area.
“Yes, anything could have happened to father, but I don’t want to think about that.
“They reported finding a crocodile there. We do know there are crocodiles in the swamp but I’ve never seen them. I’ve never ventured deep into the area during high tide.
“Father always told us where he was going and whether he would be coming home late after visiting friends and family. So I don’t think he ran away because there’s no reason for him to do so.”
“What we are doing now is being patient and praying for his safety. Wherever he is, we hope he’ll be okay and be back with us at home,” she added. -FMT

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