More suspects arrested for forest fires in Indonesia

More suspects arrested for forest fires in Indonesia

INDONESIA - Riau Police have arrested two more people, in Pelalawan and Pekanbaru, after both were caught burning forests to clear land.

In Pelalawan, the local police arrested Yunus bin Dibal, 30, as he was burning a forest area near the Kerumutan Wildlife Preserve on Wednesday afternoon.

"The police received reports [about the land burning] from the local community," Riau Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Hermansyah said on Friday. He said Yunus had been named a suspect and was currently being held by the Pelalawan Police for further questioning.

Yunus, according to Hermansyah, had cleared some 2 hectares of land to open an oil palm plantation.

"The area is not part of the protected forest but is in the production area. However, he is still being categorized as an illegal logger because he did not have a permit to [burn the land]."

In Pekanbaru, the Tampan police precinct arrested a local, identified only as MN, 34, who was caught red-handed while burning a field behind a housing complex in the Simpang Baru area.

Tampan police chief Comr. Suparman said that MN told the police that he burned the field on his own initiative after being hired to clean it. He had been working there four days when he was caught by locals.

"The landowner never told him to burn it," Suparman said, adding that the police also seized matches and other working tools belonging to MN as evidence.

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