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Freeport mine security cars targeted in latest attack in West Papua

Freeport protesters

Protests against Freeport McMoran copper and gold mine have happened in the Indonesian-ruled region for years. Here a group of students demonstrates outside the US Embassy in August 2007. Image: Ahmad Zamroni/InTheseTimes

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Farouk Arnaz in Jakarta

Unknown gunmen fired on two cars along the road between Timika and the Grasberg mine operated by Freeport Indonesia in the West Papua region but no casualties were reported, police said.

Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto, an Indonesian National Police spokesman, said there were two bursts of gunfire, one at 10:35 a.m. and the second five minutes later.

The target in both cases were Freeport vehicles carrying security personnel.

“The shooting was carried out by unidentified people against cars carrying a group of Freeport security guards who were taking one of their colleagues to get medical treatment for an illness,” Agus said in Jakarta.

He gave no further details on the incident on Monday other than that the vehicles sustained some damage and that an investigation was currently under way.

The road linking Timika, the main town in Mimika district, and Freeport’s mining areas has seen a series of sniper ambushes on passing vehicles in the past, with the perpetrators taking advantage of the rugged and forested terrain to evade capture.

The latest incident shooting incident along the road came on Aug. 16 when a Freeport vehicle carrying three police officers deployed to help secure the mine came under gunfire at the Mile 42 mark. No one was injured in that attack.

On July 10, a soldier was killed after snipers fired on the armoured personnel carrier that he was in at the Mile 43 point of the road. The five other soldiers sustained minor injuries.

On June 24, unknown attackers shot and wounded a police officer patrolling along the Mile 41 mark. The officer had been patrolling on foot when he was jumped by three men who tried to take his gun. The assailants managed to shoot him before fleeing when another officer rushed to the scene.

On April 14, a convoy of Freeport cars was shot at twice, at Mile 26 and at Mile 36, despite having a police escort. No one was injured in the shootings.

Two Papuans working for the mining behemoth were injured in a shooting along the road on February 9, two days after a police officer was shot dead in the same area.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Unrest in Indonesia’s mines