Police names 240 people as suspects behind forest fires

"We have named 240 suspects, including corporations and individuals. We have also detained a businessman involved in the palm oil sector who was the alleged mastermind behind forest fires in Indonesia," General Badrodin Haiti said.
Sukabumi, W Java (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Police has named 240 people as suspects who allegedly set fire to forest and land, causing a haze disaster in Sumatra and Kalimantan regions.

"We have named 240 suspects, including corporations and individuals. We have also detained a businessman involved in the palm oil sector who was the alleged mastermind behind forest fires in Indonesia," the Indonesian Police Chief, General Badrodin Haiti, said here on Tuesday.

According to Badrodin, the catastrophic forest fires caused millions of people to become victims of the haze disaster.

He said justice must be served in case of forest fires and any future recurrence prevented by bringing arsonists to book, as it will act as a deterrent for other criminals who indulge in burning lands in Indonesia and causing haze. The haze this time had even hit some countries bordering Indonesia, such as Malaysia and Singapore.

The General said the disaster led to a very critical situation because it had a widespread impact on health, social and economic sectors in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

"We will continue investigating the case to unveil the masterminds behind forest fires in Indonesia," Badrodin said.

Police also issued guidelines to local people and corporations to help them avoid burning anything in the fields and forests that could potentially lead to forest fires.

"The Police, together with Indonesian Military soldiers and volunteers as well as officers of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, are trying to extinguish the fires. We hope the fires can be managed and land fire incidents can be reduced," Badrodin said.

Earlier, on Sunday, the Terra Aqua satellite of NASA had detected 1,820 hotspots of land and forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan islands.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said of the total, 1,563 hotspots were found in Sumatra and 257 in Kalimantan.

Additionally, 1,340 of the 1,563 hotspots in Sumatra were found among others in South Sumatra, nine in Riau, 131 in Jambi, 22 in Bangka Belitung, 57 in Lampung and one in Riau Islands.

The agency noted that 51 of 257 hotspots in Kalimantan were found in West Kalimantan, 108 in Central Kalimantan, 71 in South Kalimantan and 27 in East Kalimantan.

The haze from the ongoing forest and plantation fires also led to 68 flights being cancelled at the Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport of Pekanbaru, Riau Province on Tuesday.(*)

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