23 Jul 2009

More arrests near Papua's Freeport mine

3:41 pm on 23 July 2009

Police in Indonesia's Papua have arrested three more suspects after another ambush by gunmen near the Grasberg gold and copper mine run by US-company Freeport McMoRan in Timika.

The ambush targetted a convoy of buses carrying Freeport employees as they drove on the sole road from the coast to the highland mine, where a series of similar ambushes killed three people earlier this month.

While local media reports say three police officer were wounded in yesterday's attack, the Antara news agency reports that two unidentified people were killed.

A national police spokesman says in total 15 people, all understood to be Papuans, have been arrested in relation to the killings on July 11 and 12, eight of whom are considered suspects.

Father Neles Tebay of the Catholic Peace and Justice Secretariat in Jayapura says it's widely believed that military-linked gunmen are behind the shootings.

"But I think it will be difficult for the police to really publicise the real party responsible for the attack. I think at the end, Papuans will pay the price. Some Papuans, I think, will be blamed as being responsible for the attack."

Father Neles Tebay