MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesia's military "invades" Papua mine, atrocities continue

Published by MAC on 2009-09-22
Source: West Papua

Last week, yet another employee of the world's biggest gold-copper mine was shot at by "unknown" attackers.  This brings the number of those targeted in recent weeks, as they worked within Freeport-Rio Tinto's West Papua mining lease area, to a minimum of seven. At least two victims have died.

Who is responsible for these attacks - the latest in a series of atrocities dating back more than three decades?

Demands for a full investigation, made by both trade unionists and Indonesia's human rights commission, have so far yielded virtually nothing.

On 12 September, Indonesia's army chief acquitted the province's independence movement, OPM, of any involvement in the assaults.

However, just twelve days earlier, his own commander in West Papua, Ahmad Yani Nasution, had blamed the attacks on this"separatist" organisation, declaring that at least six hundred new troops will now be deployed in the region.

This will hardly allay suspicions - expressed over many years - that  the military is determined to maintain its presence in West Papua, at least partly in order to benefit from lucrative "security" contracts, still financially underwritten by the two mining companies.

See an earlier report: :

Indonesian military to deploy 600 troops to safeguard U.S. mining
firm's workers


31 August 2009

At least 600 military troops would be   deployed to help the police safeguard workers of PT Freeport McMoran   Indonesia (FMI) mining firm who have been the target of shootings   attacks in Indonesia's Papua province, Papua chapter military
commander Ahmad Yani Nasution said Monday.

"Those army troops would commence their service on Sept. 2," Ahmad
was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency.

Ahmad said that the troops deployment plan was a response to the
police's asking.

According to the military commander, the troops will be tasked to
secure the workers from being attacked by the shooters who he alleged
came from the separatist group Papua Independence Movement (OPM).

Ahmad said that the separatist group is responsible for the
frequent unrest and insecurity that occurred around the world's
largest copper and gold mining site operated by FMI.

Spate of shootings to the buses and vehicles boarded by Freeport' s
workers have killed a number of the firm's workers and police who
safeguarded those workers in the last few months. Police had arrested
suspects who were allegedly responsible for the attacks.

Ahmad said that the troops deployment was aimed at making sure the
order and security in the area be restored. He did not reveal the time
on when those troops would be withdrawn from the assignment.


Shootings near Freeport mine in Papua wound two


12 September 2009

A fresh wave of shootings near Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Grasberg mine in Indonesia has left two security guards injured, police said on Saturday.

The shootings did not affect production at the mine, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of Freeport's total copper reserves of 93 billion pounds, and boasts the
world's largest gold reserves. Shots were fired near mile 42 at a vehicle carrying security guards and cleaning service personnel on Saturday morning, Papua Police Chief Bagus Ekodanto told Reuters by telephone.

One security guard was shot at his leg and another hit by glass shrapnel, said Agus Rianto, Papua police spokesman. A series of shootings near the mine in recent weeks has resulted in several casualties, but so far there has been no impact on production.

The police and military said they have stepped up security in Papua, the easternmost part of the sprawling Indonesian archipelago. The Grasberg mine is about 3,350 kilometres (2,080 miles) east of Indonesia's capital Jakarta.

Papua has been subject to sporadic violence between separatists and Indonesian security forces, while the mine has seen controversy over various personnel, environmental and other policies.

Some analysts have tied recent outbreaks of violence to possible conflicts between the police and military over lucrative security arrangements at the mine and related business ventures, charges the authorities have rejected.

OPM not involved in Timika shooting incidents


10 September 2009

Army Chief of Staff General Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo said the recent spate of shooting incidents in PT Freeport Indonesia`s concession area in Timika, Papua, was the work of criminal trouble-makers (GPK), not that of the separatist Free Papua
Organization (OPM). "Yes, this is what people should know; the shooting incidents were the work of GPK who were sent to Papua to disturb security in the region," he said on the sidelines of a fast-breaking gathering here on Wednesday.

Agustadi said his side was continuously coordinating with the police to overcome various security challenges in the region including the shooting incidents in the PT Freeport area. In the latest such inncident on Wednesday morning, the gunmen shot at car carrying the chief of the Tembagapura military district command at Mile

"It is possible that the GPK members have been on location before or after the party passed," he said. He said Papua is one of the vulnarable regions that need to be given special attention. He admitted his side had difficulties locating the GPK members due to a lack of knowledge of the area. "They know better about the area than us and therefore it is difficult to find them," he said.

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