Gunfire as Malays massacre pigs

MALAYSIAN SOLDIERS firing shotguns and covered in plastic overalls and face-masks slaughtered pigs yesterday in an all-out effort to control a virus believed to have killed more than 50 people.

The tranquillity of rural farms was shattered by the sound of gunfire and the squeals of frightened animals as soldiers exterminated pigs in villages worst affected by the outbreak of Japanese encephalitis. Health authorities used tractors and bulldozers to bury the carcasses of the slain animals.

The virus, which attacks the brain, causing high fever, vomiting and coma, is transmitted from pigs to humans by Culex mosquitoes, which thrive in swamps and open drains.

The operation, which began late on Saturday, originally called for the destruction of 65,000 animals over the weekend. But only about 2,000 pigs were killed on the first day, according to newspaper reports from the state of Negri Sembilan, which is 100 kilometres (62 miles) southeast of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The killing got off to a slow start because of rain and a shortage of bulldozers, Malaysia's health minister said.

Malaysia eventually plans to kill all 300,000 pigs that are living in the affected area, the national news agency Bernama said.

More than 30 people have died in the area, which has a population of 11,000, bringing the nationwide death toll to 53 since October. Nearly all the victims have lived or worked near pig farms. No further deaths were reported yesterday.

Hundreds of families have already abandoned their villages. Police said that the few who remained in the prosperous pig-rearing district had been evacuated to enable soldiers and police to begin the slaughter.

Fire and rescue helicopters clattered over the villages on Saturday to dump 9,000 litres of insecticide on swamps where mosquitoes breed. "Our aim is to destroy the mosquito larvae in the canals and ponds," said Soh Chai Hock, the region's fire chief.

The federal government ordered vaccinations for 300,000 people and 500,000 pigs across the country in an attempt to control the disease.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
science
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before