National

Police embedded to help
secure Freeport employees

The authorities have increased security measures at mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia by slipping a police officer into each of the buses transporting company employees between work and home.

The measures, which are supported by 1,700 army and police personnel, have been adopted in
the wake of repeated shooting incidents along the road from Timika to Tembagapura.

Sporadic shootings by unidentified groups are reportedly distressing passengers on the passing buses, with the recent incident on Sunday leaving nine injured.

Among the victims were an American employee and four Mobile Brigade police officers.

Timika police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Muhammad Sagi said Thursday that the police were still investigating the incident.

“The police will continue to investigate and we will not speculate about the perpetrators of the
shootings.”

He said the shooting incident had not affected the employees’ commute between Timika and the mining site at Grasberg, Tembagapura.

Meanwhile, a researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences reiterated calls for the police to thoroughly investigate the matter.

“The police must be serious in their investigations in all shooting incidents at the premises of PT Freeport Indonesia,” Muridan told The Jakarta Post.

He said the repeated incidents showed the government had failed to provide security.

“The police are not resolute enough to uncover what is happening and who are the perpetrators,” he said.

“Is there any possibility that it is related to competition over the right to obtain security protections on PT Freeport ... or anything to do with gold panning at the tailing area?”

The police have blamed the security disturbance in the area on the separatist Papua Freedom Movement (OPM).

OPM leader Kelly Kwalik was killed over a month ago, but the disturbance remains.

The shootings are reported to have happened three times since Kwalik’s death.

Ruben Magay, a legislator from Commission A, also urged immediate disclosure for the shooting incidents.

“If they can’t, just recall them from there,” he said.

“President SBY, through the police chief, must address the issue. If possible, he should establish an independent investigative team.”

He lamented that civilians had been caught in the crossfire.

Thaha Alhamid, from the Papua Presidium Council, said the police deployed to secure Freeport had not been professional, credible nor consistent in the field.

“I believe they face psychological blocks in their duty so that they can’t bring this matter to an end yet.

“If so, an independent team should be set up.”

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