Task force deploy 558 personnel to hunt down forest encroachers

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The Riau Haze Emergency Task Force has deployed 558 personnel to hunt down forest encroachers and arsonists that caused forest, plantation and peat-soil fires in Riau.

"The deployment of hundreds of personnel is to strengthen the legal enforcement," Chief of the Riau Police Brigadier General Condro Kirono, in his capacity as the commander of the task forces legal enforcement unit, stated here on Wednesday.

The personnel include police officers, military officers, forest rangers and members of the intelligent agency, he pointed out.

The 558 personnel are divided into nine teams with each consisting of 62 people. The legal enforcement operation will be organized until March 26.

Four teams are deployed to Pelalawan District with the focus on Meranti Gulf that shares border with the Kerumutan sanctuary, where a number of hotspots were detected, he added.

The other five teams are deployed to Bengkalis District and they will particularly hunt down those who had encroached the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu biosphere reserve.

"The teams going to Bengkalis could also go to Rupat Island where a number of hotspots have been detected," he explained.

The Riau police have detained 36 people who allegedly set fires illegally to clear land for farming and plantation.

Of the 36 detainees, 16 were encroachers of the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu biosphere reserve.

The Riau military office has also detained a military officer identified by as Chief Sergeant Sudigdo alias Digdo, who was suspected of having financed the encroachment. (*)

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