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230 arrested in Indonesia on suspicion of starting forest fires could get 10 years in jail

Christian Fernsby |
Some 230 people have been arrested in Indonesia on suspicion of starting fires, police said on Thursday.

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Topics: INDONESIA    FIRE   

Among those arrested are three men who were caught on Monday while trying to clear land to plant crops in the Tesso Nilo National Park, which is home to about 140 endangered wild elephants, said national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.

Those arrested could be prosecuted under an environmental protection law that mandates a maximum 10-year prison sentence for setting fires to clear land.

In addition to the arrests, Indonesian authorities have also sealed off land owned by at least 49 plantation companies in the past week for investigation after fires were found on their land.

Indonesia’s fires are an annual problem that strain relations with neighbouring countries. The smoke from the fires has blanketed parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and southern Thailand in a noxious haze.

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