The Jakarta Post
The Dumai Police in Riau have named four suspects in separate forest and land fires that have blanketed the city with haze.
“Three of the suspects were arrested in West Dumai district, while the other one was arrested in Medang Kampai district,” Dumai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Restika Nainggolan said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.
He added the police had handed over one of the cases to prosecutors, although the police chief did not specify which suspect. Meanwhile, the investigators were still investigating the other three cases.
“All four are suspected of clearing land by burning it. The fire spread to other areas,” Restika said.
In January and February, the Dumai Police established 22 locations as crime scenes for land and forest fires. The remaining 18 cases are still under the initial investigation phase.
The police are also investigating a wildfire case that occurred on land owned by PT Chevron Dumai, the local subsidiary of United States-based oil company Chevron. Investigators have questioned two company’s security guards in the matter.
Dumai is among the worst-affected cities in Riau that battled wildfires between January and February. According to the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency, around 133 hectares of land were burned between January and March. The fires sent haze across Dumai, affecting residents and their daily activities.
A joint taskforce comprising police and military personnel, the Manggala Agni fire brigade and residents worked to extinguish the fires. Their attempts were finally aided by increasing rainfall in the area. (kuk)