8 Apr 2011

Latest Papua killing reflect pattern, says anthropologist

3:21 pm on 8 April 2011

An anthropologist who has conducted extensive research on deadly incidents around Papua's Grasberg gold and copper mine says the latest shootings near the mine must be seen within a history of impunity.

Reports from Indonesia say that unidentified gunmen killed two workers at Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold Inc's giant gold mine in Papua province yesterday.

The mine has been a frequent source of friction because of its environmental impact, the share of revenue going to local Papuans and the legality of payments to security forces who guard the site.

Eben Kirksey of the City University of New York says there's a history of shootings at Freeport.

"In 2002 there were American schoolteachers killed. A few years back you had an Australian national killed as well as number of Indonesian citizens who were in the area of the Freeport mine. And in all these cases, the authorities have failed to bring the masterminds behind the attacks to justice. In the 2002 killing, there's very clear evidence that those masterminds are Indonesian intelligence agents."

Eben Kirksey