"The decision to deploy the personnel was made following President Joko Widodos instruction on Monday night. Today, I conducted a ceremony to review the forces that would be sent there," TNI Commander General, Gatot Nurmantyo, said after seeing off the personnel at Jakartas Halim Perdanakusumah air force base.
The forces that are being sent to Riau have been drawn from the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), the navys marine corps and the air force. They were transported aboard a Hercules plane and three CN-295 aircraft.
Nurmantyo said that the duration for which they would be assigned there depends upon the condition, adding jokingly that he hoped they can return tomorrow.
"It is hoped that it can be overcome immediately. As soon as the haze is gone, they will return," he stated.
Besides Riau, TNI has also deployed its personnel in South Sumatra, with particular focus on Ogan Komering Ilir, which is peat land area.
Peat land fires are harder to control as even though they have been put out; smoke continues to emanate from the soil, which is a problem, Nurmantyo added.
(Reporting by Syaiful Hakim/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/A014)