MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Four treated after being shot over Newmont attack

Published by MAC on 2003-03-29

Four treated after being shot over Newmont attack

Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Mataram

29th March 2003

Four suspects in an attack on an exploration camp run by U.S. mining giant Newmont in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, are being treated at separate hospitals after being shot by police Sunday after they resisted arrest, police said Tuesday.

Two of the four victims are being treated at Kemala Hikmah Police Hospital in Mataram, while the other two are at Sumbawa General Hospital in Sumbawa Besar regency, West Nusa Tenggara Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. HM Basri said.

Basri said the two victims being treated in Mataram had been identified as Kasim and Asmaun. Though the two are being treated for gunshot wounds to the chest, Basri denied reports they are in critical condition.

Kasim was admitted to the hospital Sunday, while Asmaun was transferred there Monday evening, Basri said.

"No one is allowed to take photos of the patients so as not to incite anger in Sumbawa. Their condition is improving," he said, adding that the two victims treated in Sumbawa Besar had been identified as Ali and Syamsudin.

Basri said Monday that after questioning a number of witnesses about the March 19 attack, police sent summonses to dozens of people believed to have been involved in the incident. When the summonses were ignored, police went to pick up the suspects, including several in Lebuin village.

Police detained up to 12 suspects, but when they attempted to take others into custody hundreds of residents attacked officers with bows and arrows, spears and stones, Basri said, adding that a clash could not be avoided.

"The police officers were forced to fire warning shots. However, when the angry residents failed to heed the warning, officers were forced to shoot the four suspects," Basri said.

Four police officers were also injured during Sunday's action on Sumbawa island, he said. One was injured by an arrow, while the three others were hit by rocks thrown by the villagers.

Two other key suspects escaped arrest during a raid on Ropang village, near the exploration camp that was attacked, according to AFP.

The attack and torching of the Newmont camp, located around 60 kilometers from the company's main gold and copper mining site, led to exploration work being suspended but mining continued as usual.

The company had received reports of the planned attack so had evacuated its 135 workers. No one was injured.

Press reports have said that local residents were demanding Rp 10 billion (US$1.1 million) from the company for community development programs.

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