Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Papua: Battlegound or Playground?
Since last Saturday, an Australian engineer and 2 Indonesian security officers have been killed closed to the world’s largest open-pit Gold Mine in Papua operated by PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of U.S Gold & Copper mining giant Freeport-McMoran.
According to media reports, the Indonesian Police and Military blamed the Free Papua Organization (OPM) for those killings but was denied by the latter. This has lead to a speculation that the killings stem from rivalry between the Police and Military forces that are competing for more than US$ 5 Millions illegally paid every year by Freeport to protect the mine.
This speculation emerged because the U.S regulatory filings mentioned that Freeport pays such money, but Freeport did not respond to a request for details about its security spending. Further, the Police said that Forensic material collected at the scene of killings indicates a coordinated attack by several gunmen. Casings were recovered of military-grade 5.6 mm bullets that fit AK-47s, M-16s and Indonesian-made SS1 assault rifles which are standard weapons for both the military and police, but also known to be used by the rebels.
Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono has denied the speculation, however he did not rule out the possibility that "rogue elements" of the police or military were behind the shootings.
For details regarding the above, please click here, here, here and here.
I hope that the above speculation is not true; therefore the shootings were merely acts of crimes committed by the rebels. In which case, our Police and Military authority should boost their efforts to maintain security in Papua, so that people can live peacefully.
Photo: a courtesy of Unik-unik