Indonesia condemns palm oil firm's hostage-taking over fires

AP News
Posted: Sep 05, 2016 3:06 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's minister of environment and forestry has condemned attempts by a palm oil company to stop an investigation into forest fires by taking ministry investigators hostage.

A team of seven officials investigating wildfires was intercepted and held Friday by a group of captors believed to be mobilized by PT Andika Permata Sawit Lestari, a palm oil company operating in Riau province.

Novrizal Tahar, a ministry spokesman, said Monday that the hostages were released early Saturday following negotiations involving police and local officials.

Siti Nurbaya, the minister of environment and forestry, said the incident has encouraged her ministry to take stern actions against perpetrators of illegal forest burning and rogue corporations in accordance with the law.