Nearly 200 people have been arrested by the Indonesian authorities over vast forest fires ripping across the archipelago, police said on Monday September 16th, as toxic haze pollutes air quality to unprecedented levels, causing flight cancellations.
Thousands of personnel have been deployed to battle blazes in land that has turned into charred landscapes, with fire consuming forests in Sumatra and Borneo islands, AFP reported.
The fires have unleashed a choking haze across Southeast Asia, triggering diplomatic tensions with Indonesia's neighbours.
The fires are usually started by illegal burning to clear land for farming but have got out of control, causing the closure of thousands of schools across the country.
Authorities on Monday said they had arrested some 185 people suspected of starting the fires sweeping the country.
National Police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo told reporters in Jakarta that "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."