Nearly 200 people were arrested in Indonesia over raging forest fires

JAKARTA: As toxic haze sends air quality levels plummeting and sparks flight cancellations, police arrested nearly 200 people in Indonesia who were responsible for vast forest fires ripping across the archipelago.

Thousands of personnel have been deployed in Jakarta to battle blazes that are turning land into charred landscapes and consuming forests in Sumatra and Borneo Islands where thousands of schools have been ordered to shut over health fears.

The fires that was usually caused by illegal burning to clear land for farming have unleashed choking haze across Southeast Asia. This unhealthy level of haze have triggered diplomatic tensions with Indonesia’s neighbours.

Authorities on Monday said, they had arrested some 185 people suspected of being involved in activities that led to out-of-control fires sweeping the country.

 “Indonesian Police will enforce the law against anyone who is proven to have carried out forest and land burning, whether it was done intentionally or through negligence,” National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.

“This is a last resort. The most important thing is prevention.” Four corporations were also being investigated, he added.

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