16 Sep 2002

More shots are fired near Papua's Freeport mine

10:56 am on 16 September 2002

More shootings have been reported from near the world's biggest gold and copper mines in the Indonesian province of Papua.

Papua's Police Chief, Major General, Made Pastika, says a car containing four soldiers was shot at on Saturday, slightly injuring one man.

Before that, another car had been shot at but no one was hurt.

The attacks happened near the site of the ambush of a convoy that left three teachers, two Americans and one Indonesian, dead, and eight others injured.

The Indonesian military has blamed the ambush on separatists in the Free Papua Movement, or OPM.

But General Made has cast doubt on the military's claim.

He says the Papuan man claimed to have been shot in a gunfight with the army a day after the convoy attack, was already suffering rigor mortis when he saw him supposedly two hours after he died.

The police chief says the state of the body suggests he died much earlier.

General Made is quoted in the Australian Age newspaper as saying he thinks it unlikely the latest shootings could be blamed on the OPM as the military claims to have sterilised the area.

A spokesman for the Freeport Mine says the company is very concerned about its security.

But he says the mine is operating normally.