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Jakarta Post

Police investigate 3 companies over fires in oil palm concessions

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru, Riau   /   Fri, August 26, 2016   /  07:53 pm
Police investigate 3 companies over fires in oil palm concessions Conflagration – An aerial picture shows land fires in Batu Panjang, Rupat district, Bengkalis regency. The burned areas are owned by local people and border with concession areas belonging to companies with industrial forest permits. (Courtesy of the Riau Land and Forest Fire Post’s air task force/-)

The Riau Police are intensively investigating three companies for their alleged negligence in regard to fires within their concessions during the last two weeks.

The three companies, identified only by the initials PT APSL, PT DBD and PT SS, operate in the oil palm plantation sector. Two companies, APSL and DBD, operate in Rokan Hulu regency while SS operates in Rokan Hilir, where a member of the Indonesian Navy, Chief Pvt. Wahyudi, died during efforts to extinguish fires on Tuesday.

The total burned land in the three companies’ concession areas amounts to approximately 300 hectares.

The police’s special crime investigation (Reskrimsus) director Sr.Comr.Rivai Sinambela said Rokan Hulu and Rokan Hilir Police were now handling the fire cases.

“Their investigations are under way. Criminal investigation unit chiefs at the two police precincts have been instructed to work maximally. The Riau Police’s Reskrimsus has dispatched investigators to help strengthen efforts to find evidence. If their investigation achieves maximum results, the Riau Police will take over the case,” said Rivai in a press conference on Friday.

He further said the police would involve expert witnesses in evidence collection to determine whether or not the burned land was within the concession areas of the companies.

“We suspect the burned land is within the companies’ concession areas, however, our investigators cannot straightaway conclude that the areas belong to the companies,” said Rivai.

“We should have enough evidence. We [the Riau Police] don’t want the issuance of a termination of investigation [SP3] on land fire cases implicating 15 companies to happen again. That’s why the case handling and suspect naming in land and forest fires will be conducted more carefully,” said Rivai. (ebf)

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