Fires started to make way for oil palm crops in Indonesia.
A group of 100 men took a team of government
environmental investigators hostage and threatened to burn them alive in
Indonesia, on 2 September, while the officials were investigating
illegal fires allegedly started by a palm oil company.
The mob was allegedly hired by Andika Permata Sawit Lestari
(APSL), an oil palm company operating in Riau Province in Sumatra. The Ministry
of Environment and Forestry said the team of officials was held captive until
the following morning, when they were released after negotiations.
While being held, the investigators were allegedly told
that they would be killed and dumped in a river. The Ministry said there
indications’’ that the men were operating under orders from APSL.
A few days after the episode, the company denied the
allegations to The
Jakarta Post, blaming the kidnapping on local farmers instead.
Ministry officials had been investigating fires in areas
controlled by APSL. They found that more than 2,000ha had
been illegally burned, and that there was strong evidence this had been done
deliberately, to prepare the area for oil palm.
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