MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2001-05-01


The final results of the ELSHAM investigation, confirmed by police also investigating the August 31 shootings, indicate that TPN/OPM members were not involved in the shooting of Freeport employees. The Indonesian armed forces' history of instituting destabilizing violence in the area, the circumstances surrounding the August 31 shootings, weaponry and ammunition used, and the fact that one of the supposed attackers was dead at least 12 hours prior to his "capture" by the military, all suggest that the shootings were carried out by Indonesian military personnel or groups facilitated by the TNI, who up until now have been entrusted with protecting the security and stability of the Freeport area.

The shootings at mile 62-63 can be seen as part of the strategy of certain elements from the Indonesian security forces to maintain their presence in the Freeport mining area and to protect or bolster their income from providing security to the mine. Furthermore, the attack can be seen as an effort by the military to justify strong and violent action against the TPN/OPM to attempt to wipe out the separatist movement, as part of the wider policy of the Indonesian government.

However, the police investigation up until this point has focused on the perpetrators of the shootings as individuals and has not considered an investigation of the relationship between the shootings and the command structures within the military and Freeport security systems, or the wider state policies of the Indonesian government. ELSHAM is concerned that this case will be dealt with in the same manner as the November 2001 assassination of Papuan leader Theys Eluay, which has resulted in the trial of Kopassus soldiers as individuals before a military tribunal, with no investigation into the decision-makers who ordered the killing or the state policies of which the killing was a result.

Unless the policies of the Indonesian central government and Freeport Security are investigated, human rights violations and attacks of this nature will continue with impunity.

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