US offers training for forest rangers in Indonesia

US offers training for forest rangers in Indonesia

ilustration - forest fire at Bukit Putus, Lubeg, Padang (16/2/2014).(ANTARA FOTO/Iggoy el Fitra)

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The United States plans to offer training for forest rangers in Indonesia to enable them to tackle incidents such as forest fire and haze that is currently happening in Riau province, Deputy Chief of US Consulate General Trevor Olson said here on Sunday.

"The US has the program to improve the capacity of forest rangers in conducting their duty," Trevor said.

According to Trevor Indonesia and the US had not yet have a specific cooperation in the handling of forest fire incident.

While forest fire and haze, such as what happen in Riau province recently, had disturbed the daily life and business of people in the area including Americans living there, he said.

Trevor added he had visited Pekanbaru city a while ago and had a discussion with local authority on the challenge of handling forest fire in Riau province including the difficulty to sue people or companies who had deliberately caused forest fire.

Forest fire and thick haze appears in Riau province during the past week. It was suspected that some local people had deliberately started fire in an attempt to open new plantation.

Last Thursday, Riau Police stated it had identified 13 people who have been accused as Riau land burners that triggered haze in the area.

"Regarding information from the people, the 13th accused person namely Misroni had cleared land by burning the field. We have arrested Misroni," the Chief of Meranti Archipelago Resort Police Senior Commissioner Adjunct Pandra Arsyad confirmed.

Previously, the Police had detained 12 persons, out of which, seven were accused of burning several areas in districts such as Siak, Pelalawan, Bengkalis and Pekanbaru City as well as Indragiri Hilir, and Rokan Hilir.

According to the Police, Misroni worked as a farmer in Tanjung Samak Hamlet of Rangsang Sub-district.

Misronis neighbors had reported him to the Police after he burned the field and the neighboring land, to plant crops in January.

"We have arrested Misroni as his neighbor testified that he has burned the land and the neighboring field. People saw him burn the land deliberately," Pandra noted.

He added that there are at least 4-5 people who are ready to testify, after 50 hectares of their land were burnt because of Misroni.

Misroni, says Police, had escaped to Palalawan District after the fire from his land could not be controlled, when his neighbors tried to distinguish the fires.

"We have arrested Misroni after he returned to the village," Pandra explained.

All the suspects have been detained in each of the Police headquarter in the districts.

The haze had disrupted international and domestic flight traffic in Riau Province due to decreased visibility.

Besides that, some 15,292 residents in Riau Province have been suffering from respiratory problems due to haze from the forest fire that has covered the area since February.

Reporting by FB Anggoro
Translating and Editing by Amie Fenia Arimbi

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