Monday, November 16, 2009


It was reported to the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke in Skrang in April 1858 that Aji Apai Limpa, the second son of Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana and his supporters, Lintong Moahari a Julau Chief with a fleet of forty bangkong (Iban long paddle warboats) were ready to go down the Batang Saribas to raid the coastal areas.
When Tuan Muda charles Brooke heard the news he called for the aid from Kuching. In the meant time, he left Skrang in his big boat with sixty men and a three-pounder gun in her bows. While arriving at Lingga he found that the small gun boat named Jolly Bachelor, command by John Channon was waiting for him there. They went up the Saribas with a picked crew and several native bangkong was following behind.
They went as far as Nanga Padeh near the longhouse of Aji Apai Limpa longhouse and his brother , Nanang. From there they attacked Aji’s longhouse. His fort (Kuta) was not strong enough, and he lost a number of fighting men and their long houses were destroyed. Fortunately for Aji Apai Limpa , cholera had spread in the area, and this forced the attacking party of Tuan Muda Charles Brooke to retreat.
Tuan Muda Charles Brooke decided to construct a fort (Kubu) at a commanding position on the bank of the Saribas River. The fort was soon built at a place originally known as Rantau Anak which is now called Betong. The Saribas fort was later named as Fort Lily. A young god-son of Rajah James Brooke by the name of James Brooke Cruickshank was put in charge of the new station.
Fort Lily which was constructed in the year 1858 is the oldest fort built in Sarawak. It had been rebulit many times through the years and it have been used as the administrative headquaters of the Saribas District in Betong before. Leaving James brooke Cruickshank in charge of the new fort, the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke returned to the Skrang District. He then heard that Linggir Mali Lebu was leading a war expedition (Ngayau) to raid the Malays villages in the coastal areas. He immediately sent orders for the Balau Ibans to ambush them at Meludam. During the battle Linggir Mali Lebu lost fourteen men and he himself was wounded. Thus he had a narrow escape to safe himself.
In retaliation to the attack on their longhouses, Aji Apai Limpa and Lintong Moahari led a full forces of his war men on 14th.July,1858 with the mission to destroying the Fort Lily at Betong.
But James Brooke Cruickshank aided by Panglima Bakir and his warriors managed to drive them back. Before the end of 1858 the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke once again organised a big scale war expedition against Aji Apai Limpa and his allies in retaliation to the attack on the Fort Lily. The Tuan Besar Captain Brooke Brooke who commanded this war expedition led the advance party from Kuching, while the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke led the main war men which comprising 200 Malays and 2,000 Dayaks to fight for them in the war.
When Aji Apai Limpa saw that a large enemy forces was advancing paddling their long war boat up the Sungai Layar, he ordered his men to fell a large trees standing low on the river banks so as to fall across and block the passage on the Sungai Layar. This barrier had been done for several mile along the Layar River. Aji Apai Limpa did not form them into pengerebah (blockade), but left all the trees to lie anywhere they felt in the river. (Pengerebah is a method employed by the Dayak Ibans to hinder the progress of an enemy to paddled their long war boat up the river. The trees inclining to the river are cut to breaking point, and sustained by means of rotans. Within a moment the rotans can be cut and the trees will fall and crush the enemy while they were passing by in their long war boats.)
Despite the obstruction the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men managed to proceed themselves upstream, but with many difficulties, and after a few days of hard works, they reached the Sungai Langit. Here the Dayak Ibans under the command of Aji Apai Limpa attacked the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men named the Sarawak forces. Heavy war battle took place, and during the engagement Aji Apai Limpa gallantly dashed forward to attacked the enemies with his single handed.
Unfortunately he was struck down by a musket shot. Some said that he was wounded by the shot but died from the impact of the bullet. Others said he was strangled to death because he was known to be invulnerable. He used to boast that the White Man’s gunpowder and shots would make no effect on his body. Nevertheless, his end had come.
That was the end of one of the most gallant Dayak Iban war leaders of the Saribas . He died honourably while defending his homeland and peoples against the intruders. He had performed many brave deeds against his principal enemy, the White Man. In memory of his many wonderful deeds and bravery in the battles the Ibans still mention and praise his name in their cultural songs and chants today as “Baka Pemerani Aji Apai Limpa Nan Ka Kuta Ngelaban Raja Di Nanga Sungai Langit.” Which meant “As brave as Aji Apai Limpa who defended his fort against the Rajah war men at the Nanga Sungai Langit.”
Nanang and Luyoh were enraged at the death of their brother , Aji Apai Limpa. They collected as many men as they could and supported Libau RENTAP on the fort of Bukit Sadok. They built another fort next to Libau RENTAP. They wanted to avenge the death of their brother, Aji Apai Limpa, who had distinguished himself gallantly as a war leader in defending his homeland and people and never surrendered to the rule of the White Rajah. He is thus a great Dayak Iban War Hero.

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