The suspected arsonists were identified as Sa (41), the land owner, and Sa (45), a resident of Bandar Jaya Village in Rantau Rasau Sub-district, Tanjab Timur Police Chief Adjunct Sen. Coms. Deden Nurhidayatullah noted in a statement here Thursday.
The suspects were arrested after reports of slash-and-burn method employed for land clearance were received from several local residents of the Nipah Panjang II neighborhood of Nipah Panjang Sub-district, he revealed.
Soon after the reports were obtained, several police officers and firefighters were dispatched to the area to put out the fire. The police investigators spotted six people attempting to douse the fire ravaging the land, he stated.
The people told police investigators that Sa had set the fire.
"Based on this information, we then arrested Sa," he noted.
Despite a complete ban on the slash and burn agricultural practice since it can trigger land and forest fires that cause haze, irresponsible people in different parts of Indonesia continue to use this farming method.
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ANTARA noted that the fire ravaging the burned farmlands produced smog that had harmed the health of locals and frequently posed a grave threat to neighboring countries, as it potentially threatens public health and aviation activities.
In addressing this challenging reality, the Indonesian military has often partaken in efforts to stop the recurrences of land and forest fires in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan by regularly conducting public awareness campaigns.
Law enforcement steps are also taken against those behind the land and forest fires.
Last year, the West Kalimantan police conducted intensive interrogation of 40 found to be allegedly involved in 34 land and forest fire cases that caused incessant suffering to locals owing to the impact of thick smoke emanating from wildfires.
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