Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian police are committed to thoroughly investigating all those companies which burned the forests, causing the haze that has affected various regions in the country.

"The police are committed to investigating the perpetrators. This investigation will not be partial, rather it will be a thorough one," the director of special crimes at the National Polices Crime Investigation Department, Brigadier General Yazid Fanani, said at the National Police Headquarters here on Wednesday.

He said he hoped that the investigation would result in the ministries or the concerned state institutions either imposing administrative sanctions against companies found guilty or revoking their permits.

He explained that as of now, sanctions could only be imposed after obtaining a court ruling. "An administrative sanction, in this case the revocation of permit, may only happen after a court ruling."

He said the police are now handling 131 cases of alleged burning of forest and land in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Of the total, 28 are still under preliminary probe, 79 under investigation while 24 cases have been confirmed.

The cases are related to fires in Riau (Sumatra), South Sumatra, Jambi (Sumatra) and West and South Kalimantan.

He said 126 people have been named as suspects in connection with the cases, while a company called PT Bumi Mekar Hijau has also been named as a suspect in the case of a fire in South Sumatra.

Two other companies -- PT Tempirai Palm Resources and PT Waimusi Agro Indah -- which operate in South Sumatra, are under investigation.

The chief of the West Kalimantan Regional Police Command, Brigadier General Arief Sulistyanto, personally led efforts to extinguish fires that ravaged a hundred hectares of rubber plantations belonging to farmers in the village of Teluk Empening in the district of Kubu Raya on Wednesday.

"We have deployed 100 personnel of the Mobile Brigade to help people put out fires that have raging for the past two days," the chief of the Forest and Land Fire Extinguishing Task Force, Senior Commissioner Suhadi SW, said.

He said along with the Brimob personnel, firefighters from the Manggala Agni group and community members were also participating in the efforts.

"Initially it was alleged that the fires were caused by people burning forests to turn these into agricultural land," he said.

He said Bumi Perkasa Gemilang also helped with heavy equipment to dig canals to bring in water for fighting the fires.

Brigadier General Arief Sulistyanto said he had deployed 1,000 Brimob personnel to fight the fires spreading in several districts in the province.

Due to the raging fires, a number of schools in the province have been closed.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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