Businessmen, landowners named suspects in South Sumatra forest fires

News Desk

The Jakarta Post


Jakarta   /  Mon, October 8, 2018  /  12:34 pm

Firefighters from the Environment and Forestry Ministry put out flames in a forest and land fire exercise in Pegayut, Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, on July 30.(Antara/Nova Wahyudi)


Police have named seven suspects over forest fires that plagued the province of South Sumatra over the past week.

South Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Zulkarnain Adinegara said two of the suspects were businesspeople, while five were local landowners.

“The seven suspects are involved in forest fires in OKI [Ogan Komering Ilir], Banyuasin, Ogan Ilir and Palembang,” he said on Sunday as quoted by

He said the suspects had admitted to starting the fires to clear land [for cultivation]. The smoke from the fires had caused thick haze covering Palembang and some surrounding areas over the past few days. 

“[The perpetrators started the fires] so that, when the rainy season starts, they could immediately start planting,” Zulkarnain said. “But clearing land by burning is wrong. We will continue to monitor the forest fires in South Sumatra.”

He added that police were investigating other fires in the region as well.

“Fields that have been burned are marked with police line and investigated. After that, we look for the owner of the field,” he said. “This way, we hope to deter people from setting fires.” (kra)