POLICE have refused to explain why they are grilling four workmen over a fire that razed 5000 hectares of protected woodland on the Costa del Sol.
A Guardia Civil spokesman six times deflected questions on why the men were ‘cleaning the estate’ owned by Libya’s Gaddafi family.
He also refused to confirm if they had permission to do the work – using heavy machinery – at the 6,800-hectare La Resinera finca that borders Benahavis, Pujerra and Juzcar.
The Olive Press understands that the workmen were cutting a track (‘carril’) through the hunting estate – which was subject to a controversial application for a golf course and 2,000 homes in 2012.
The works took place despite a clear order preventing any heavy machinery from working in the protected Sierra Bermeja mountain area from May 15 to October 15.
All three town halls told the Olive Press that they had no permission for the work on June 8, which led to the evacuation of 3,000 people that week.
It was also confirmed by a local pressure group that it is ‘illegal’ to be creating any new tracks in the area without clear permission from the Junta.
“I suspect that they were cleaning the area to open a track on the orders of the Libyan bank which owns it officially,” said a spokesman for the Sierra Bermeja Parque Nacional group.
“It is really strange what they were up to and why the area needs much better protection and should be a national park.”
Indeed, his pressure group has been demanding the area become a National Park and joining up with the new Sierra de la Nieves park for five years.
Their demands took on much more weight last year after a Sierra Bermeja fire razed 10,000 hectares in neighbouring Estepona, killing a fireman.
The recent fire was only officially extinguished after 20 days last Sunday.
While some reports claimed the fire was caused by a spark from heavy machinery, Olive Press sources suggested it had up to four seats where it began.