Wednesday, November 25, 2009


After the death of Dayak Iban Warrior named Aji Apai Limpa, the large group of the Sarawak Forces erected a small stockde at Nanga Sungai Langit. From Nanga Sungai Langit they pushed on to the Nanga Tiga at the Upper Layar River. Nanga Tiga meant the three river mounth, which one of it flows from the Bukit Sadok, one from the watershed where rises the Kanowit River and Julau River, and the third main the Layar River.
Here the Sarawak Forces left their long paddle war boats and erected a stout stockade. Then they moved advanced up-country with Tuan Muda Charles Brooke who was in command of this second Bukit Sadok War Expedition in the year 1858 to defeat and capture the strong and bravest Dayak Iban War Leader Libau RENTAP. From Nanga Tiga they proceeded to Ulu Julau to attack Mujah “Buah Raya”. Here they defeated Mujah “Buah Raya” and they burnt their longhouses and destroyed the surrounding padi fields belonging to the Ibans. It was indeed a barbarious act by the Sarawak Forces. Women and childrens suffered greatly due to the loss of their homes and padi fields, and also their staple food.
After the return of the ravaging party , the Sarawak Forces marched toward Bukit Sadok. In this expedition they carried along a small mortar with them up the mountain. After half past ten in the morning they reached the summit of Bukit Sadok. Libau RENTAP and his war men were ready to defend themselves against the attack. The attacking party had erected a small stockade within firing distance from the Libau RENTAP fort. They fired fifty rounds of shell which made a little effect on the well fortified fort. Libau RENTAP had not returned the fire, and the place seemed to be deserted.
Then some of the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke men have already moved very close to the stockade and then Libau RENTAP and his war men opened fire on them. The Libau RENTAP stockade was too strong for them to attack. Then some of the war chiefs on the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke side begged him to stop attacking Libau RENTAP, saying “We cannot pull down the planks with our own hands, we cannot climb over them and our small gun and musket shots make no effect on them.” Thus they decided to abandon the attack. The retreat began at once. This made Libau RENTAP felt more hilarious and he mocked them by saying “Bring all your fire guns from England and we are not afraid of you.” He and his men threatened and followed the retreating party down the hill with the discharge of guns, spears and poison arrows.
Thus ended the Second Bukit Sadok War Expedition. It was again a total failure on the part of the White Man. Their mortar seemed useless as it could not penetrate and destroy Libau RENTAP’s fortress which was impregnable. He won the battle and the White Man made no further attempts on his fortress until the year 1861.

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.

Friday, November 6, 2009


The Tuan Muida Charles Brroke was determined to crush Libau RENTAP in his stronghold on the top of Bukit Sadok. On 2nd June,1857 Tuan Muda Charles Brooke organised a war expedition to attack Libau RENTAP with a large group of war men consisting of 3,500 Dayaks and 500 Malays.
The Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men left Nanga Skrang in a drizzling rain and encountered a very bad weather conditon through out the journey. They proceeded up the Skrang River and on 5th June,1857 their long war boats (Perahu Pengayau) arrived at Sungai Antu where they established a base camp. Forty well armed men were placed in charge of the long war boats (Perahu Pengayau) and baggages whilst the rest of the war men moved overland in the direction of the Bukit Sadok. On 7th June,1857 they saw the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) far away in the distance situated at the top of the ridge.
The Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men resolved to push on that day to Rapu, the northern end of the Bukit Sadok, but found that it could not be done in one day. And only the advance party of the Dayaks could accend the mountain with difficulty and with a very great loss, not only of their lives , but also of confidence and courage as well. The last hundred yards were the almost perpendicular and when they do the mounting and they had to pull themselves up with one hand holding the stunted trees on the ground. At this time one of their foremen was struck by a spear by the Libau RENTAP war men and had to be carried to the rear for his safety.
When the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke was about five yards away from the Libau RENTAP’s war men, he saw many spears being thrown at him and the spears was flying all over his head and some of the spears struck some of his war men in their back. For the whole night the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke sat on the side of the hill at an angle of eighty degrees. His war men have to prepared a few cross-sticks for him to sit, and one of them held a wooden shield at his back to protect him from any attack by the Libau RENTAP war men..
When the morning came the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke and his war men managed to reach the summit of the Bukit Sadok. Along the brow of the Bukit Sadok, at the opposite end they could see clearly the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta). Several of the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men had been killed or wounded on the previous day, and over a hundred of them had rolled down the steep side of the Bukit Sadok. And the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke by doing so had lost a lots of arms and ammunitions.
On 8th June,1857, the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke and his war men was building a stockade at the Rapu. It was located at the end of the Bukit Sadok facing the position being occupied by Libau RENTAP. Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) was formidable as it was being made of the vertical iron wood (Tebelian) planks which could not be penetrated by the firing of the rifle shots. It was also surrounded on all sides by the steep cliff. Inside the fort (Kuta) the Libau RENTAP war men had built a platformfrom from which they could shoot their enemies who was moving advance in a narrow file along the backbone of a rock leading to the Libau RENTAP fort. It was almost impossible for the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men to attack the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) from the Rapu end of the Bukit Sadok. Libau RENTAP also had muskets, cannons and a small swivel-gun which Libau RENTAP had captured when Alan Lee was killed at the war battle at the Lintang Batang in 1853.
On 9th June,1857 a group of the Dayak Iban war men who came to assist the Libau RENTAP had made an attemp to attack the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke camp at Rapu. The following day the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke sent a division of Dayaks and Malays to counter-attack them. The Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men drove them back, then plundered and burnt their longhouses. The Tuan Muda Charles Brooke then tried to get his men to storm the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) at night, but they refused to face the risk.
During the next three days the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men was busy constructing the portable screens of laths and bamboo known as pilan to be used as their covers while advancing alomg the narrow ridge of the mountain.
At mid-day on the 15th.June,1857 the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men started to attack the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) under the cover of their pilan. At four o’clock in the afternoon the attacking party had reached a positon within six or seven yards from the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta). Libau RENTAP and his war men started throwing stones and spears from the fort , which fell on the attacking party. They also used their muskets and small swivel cannons to defend themselves.
At half-past five the Malay leader of the attacking party named Abang Aing was moving advanced under cover of the pilan and tried to set fire to the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta). But unfortunately for the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke, the gallant Abang Aing was struck by a musket shoot. Abang Aing was wounded and fell to the ground. When the evening came the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men had to carry Abang Aing back to their camp. When Libau RENTAP and his war men saw that the gallant Malay leader Abang Aing was wounded, they beat their gongs and yelled loudly with cheers in triumph.
The following day , instead of making another attack at Libau RENTAP fort at Bukit Sadok, the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke wanted to take only about a hundred of the strongest and bravest warrior with himself in command to proceed to Atui to attack the three longhouses belonging to the Dayak Ibans who supported Libau RENTAP. But nobody would volunteer to go with him, some of his war men said that they were sick , while others ran short of provisions.
At eight o’clock in the morning the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men began to go down the Bukit Sadok in retreat. Should Libau RENTAP and his war men attack them , then they would suffer greatly, but this was not done. Libau RENTAP was very pleased and satisfied with his success and victory to defend themselves at his fort on Bukit Sadok. Libau RENTAP popularity with the Dayak Ibans increased greatly. The Dayak Iban then strongly believed that Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) was under the protection of the legendary characters named Keling and Bunga Nuing, which could not be taken by their enemy.
When the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke and his war men had reached their base camp at Sungai Antu they found out that the flood had swept away their stockade and carried off about seventy of their long war boats (Perahu Pengayau). Those who had lost their long war boats had to share with the others while going down the Skrang River. Some of the Libau RENTAP’s war men who was hidding in the thick jungle fired at the retreating party but they suffered no casualty, except those who were already drowned.
The Dayak Ibans who was the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke war men grumbled at the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke for not listening to their comment to the right bird of omen. Thus ended the First Bukit Sadok War Expedition led by the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke against the Libau RENTAP in June , 1857 was a total failure. Libau RENTAP was hilarious of his triump over the White Men.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Libau RENTAP’s fort (Kuta) at Bukit Sadok was regarded by the Dayak Ibans as impregnable. Since Libau RENTAP was retreat from the lost of his last fort at Sungai Lang, he had strengthened his position at Bukit Sadok. In the Dayak Iban legends and songs the Dayak Iban community mentioned that the Bukit Sadok as a mountain so inaccesible and it was protected by the legendary characters of Panggau Libau, namely Keling and Bunga Nuing, Laja and Bunga Jawa, and many others, that no enemy would ever dare to attack it. Libau RENTAP had gathered together all the Dayak Iban from all along the Skrang River who were faithful to him and those in the upper Saribas River who offered him aid so long as he occupied the top of Bukit Sadok which stood as an unapproachable centre far removed from danger, and to which they could all retire in case of need from the rule of the White Man.
Libau RENTAP was given the tittle of “RAJA ULU” by all of the Dayak Iban warrior chief and Bukit Sadok was the centre of all opposition to the rule of the Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke. Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) at Bukit Sadok was about 2,725 feet above the sea level and almost in accessible on every side because of the steep cliff. Libau RENTAP was satisfied that his fort (Kuta) was very strong and could not be conquer by his enemies. The Dayak Iban was thus boasted to themselves that : “The White Man are powerful, having arms and ships at sea, but it is only we who are the Dayak Iban, who can walk and fight on land and clamber mountains.”


The word “Nundok” which meant surrender was the most word that Libau RENTAP never said in his life. He swore that he would never meet the white men to talk about peace or anythings else. He and his men kept on strengthening his fort (kuta) in Sungai Lang. The word “Sungai” in Iban meant river and the word “Lang” meant a decomposed smell of an animal. Sungai Lang was located at the headwaters of the Skrang River with many of the Libau RENATAP followers, comprising the Dayaks Iban and the Malays from the Lingga and Kuching area. They defended themselves strongly against the attack of the White Man.
In August, 1854 Rajah James Brooke proceeded up the Skrang River with a large group of war men , about 7,000 from the Dayaks and the Malays community.with the object of attacking Libau RENTAP in his fort (kuta) at Sungai Lang. Libau RENTAP and his war men were ready to defend the fort. at Sungai Lang. Libau RENTAP and his followers was well prepared to defend the fort (Kuta) and the two Dayak Iban longhouses located on the ridge of a hill surrounded by steep ground. High stakes were driven into the earth forming a firm and thick stockade. The fort (Kuta) was situated at a place about four days’ journey on foot from Enteban in the Skrang where James Brooke established his base camp.
The Tuan Besar, Captain Brooke-Brooke was the one who placed in command of the war expedition against Libau RENTAP by land to Sungai Lang accompanied by his younger brother the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke, Mr. Crookshank, Mr. William Brereton and the other four English officers to assist him in the war. Due to his poor health Rajah James Brooke was unable to accompanied them in thw war expedition against Libau RENTAP to Sungai Lang but he was staying behind with a very strong forces to protect all their war long boat (Perahu Pengayau) and all the baggages at Enteban.
The war team of Tuan Besar Captain Brooke-Brooke proceeded up the Skrang River. After two days’ journey they reached Tebat, and they continued their journey untill the fourth days’ then they saw the Libau RENTAP’s fort (Kuta)standing on a hill cleared of all the thick old jungle. Their heavy armament consisted of four-pounder and three-pounder guns and rockets. When they were mounting the last rising ground on which Libau RENTAP and his war men were fortified , they found that some of the Dayak Iban leaders had brave themselves foolishly by gaurding the fort (Kuta) advanced too close and a few of them had been killed and wounded.
The Tuan Besar Captain Brooke-Brooke war men then mounted the four-pounder gun and the rockets were fired on one end while the three-pounder gun were fired away at the other end of the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta). And Libau RENTAP with his war men returned the fire with their small pretty brisky canon commonly called “Bedil” in Dayak Iban word. The Libau RENTAP war men also shouted out loudly in their war-cry against the White Rajah the words “Agi Bedarah Agi Ngelaban” which meant “Still Bleeding Still Fighting” , and also the words “Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban” which meant “Still Living Still Fighting” which was a commonly team spirit used by the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces untill now.
Early in that afternoon there was a commotion among the Libau RENTAP war men inside the fort (Kuta) . And the women together with their childrens were seen leaving the fort (Kuta) fron the opposite side of the hill where the the Tuan Besar Captain Brooke-Brooke striked the attacked. But Libau RENTAP together with all his braved and strong warriors were still stood fast and kept gaurding their posst all along the fort (Kuta).
The old Malays Chief named Panglima Seman , a Kalaka Malay of the White Rajah’s forces had not yet made any move to lead an attack against the Libau RENTAP. Some knew that he would act cautiously , but the others at him and his reply was “Your words are more than your deeds.” As the sun reached the horizon , Panglima Seman together with his war men moved up toward the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta). They silently opened the stakes with their hands and jumped inside the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) and shouted with a loud cheers and drew their swords during the attacked.
Then about fifty to sixty of the Libau RENTAP warriors were seen tearing away over the open ground covering their bodies with shields and fled towards Bukit Sadok. They were followed by the brave defenders of the fort (Kuta) who rolled down the side of the hill. Libau RENTAP was said to be wounded and had to be carried away by his war men who fled down the hill to a second and much more stronger Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) located on the simmit os Bukit Sadok. Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) located at Sungai Lang was been defeated and conquered by the White Rajah warriors. The White Rajah warriors spent a night at the Sungai Lang Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta). It was a mere victory for them, as Libau RENTAP was wounded but did not surrender himself to the White Rajah.
Bulan Apai Jelani and his war men watched and monitored the progress of the war expediton between Libau RENTAP and the White Rajah with interest, but they didn’t take any part with any side of them. They just wait and see, waiting for the attacking party to be in a stateof confusion. Nevertheless , there was no opportunity for him to attack them.
After the victory of conquering the Libau RENTAP fort (Kuta) at Sungai Lang, the Tuan Besar, Captain Brooke-Brooke who was in command of the war expedition was keen to follow Libau RENTAP to his second fort (Kuta) at Bukit Sadok, but his war men refused to go with them. Thus , the second attack did not take place. His warriors only satisfied with the single victory of conquering the Libau RENTAP for at Sungai Lang and was impatient to return home.
William Brereton unfortunately died of dysentery shortly after this war expedition (Kayau). In October, 1854 the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke was placed in charge of Batang Lupar district. Raja James Brooke’s advice to him was : “Encourage the good, Intimidate the bad and Confirm the wavering.