"The eight miners were caught red-handed while using excavators to conduct illegal activities on Friday (April 17)," Tebo District Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Abdul Hafidz stated here on Saturday.
All suspects and the two excavators are being held at the Tebo police station, pending further investigation.
The eight suspects are identified by their initials as MUS, NUR, MAM, PEN, RIZ, SUD, NOP, and AND. Seven of them are the residents of Batung Bedarah Timur Village, while one suspect is a resident of Sungai Aro Village.
Hafidz noted that the police had summoned the owners, identified by their initials as RAP and MLK, of the excavators used in the illegal gold mining.
"We have summoned them twice, but they were absent. Once they fail to respond to the third summon, we will issue an arrest warrant," he explained.
According to the environmental group Warsi Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI Warsi), illegal mining activities were detected on 33,832 hectares (ha) of land across 11 districts in Jambi Province. Sarolangun District topped the list, with 14,126 ha of land turned into illegal mines.
In December 2019, six miners were killed after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Pulau Baru Village, Merangin District, Jambi. Related news: 20 illegal gold miners arrested in West Sumatra
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