Timika/Papua/Indonesia (2/4). Gunmen killed a New Zealand miner and wounded six others on Monday near the world’s largest gold mine in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua region, police and company officials said.
The seven employees of PT Freeport Indonesia were hit by a group of eight gunmen when they were in a parking area in Papua province where a clash between security forces and a rebel group is ongoing, said local police chief Gusti Gde Era Adhinata.
Indonesian police identified the two of the eight attackers armed with long barrelled rifles as Lino Mom Ilmar and Antonius Aim – known members of “the armed criminal group” led by Joni Botak.
Social media accounts of the various pro-Papua organization on Facebook in suggests a power struggle between “criminal elements” called KKB of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) under the leadership of Goliath Tabuni.
On 25 March reports of the KKB/OPM set fire to a Church in Opitawa, Tembagapura District, Mimika Regency. Two members of the OPM were seen fleeing the scene.
However these reports are in contrast to the joint communique issued by the OPM and TPNPB who detailed the attack. “The details in the communique provides a good insight that the attack was planned”, said a security source. “Clearly the local terror cells like to escalate the situation.”
Adhinata said a 57-year-old New Zealand man, Graeme Thomas Wall from Ngaruawahia, was shot in his chest and died while being taken to a hospital. Two Indonesian miners were in critical condition after being shot, while four others suffered minor injuries.
“Members of the armed criminal group fired at three PT Freeport Indonesia employees,” Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.
Kamal identified the slain New Zealander as Graeme Thomas Wall, 57, and the other two injured employees as Jibril M.A. Bahar, 49, and Ucok Simanungkalit, 52. Jibril suffered gunshot wounds to his abdomen and right thigh, and Ucok was hit in the right elbow and back, Kamal said. Four others suffered minor injuries.
Adhinata said police are still searching for the attackers.
The shooting occurred in the company’s office and housing area in Kuala Kencana, in Mimika regency, PT Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said.
Seven employees of PT Freeport Indonesia were reportedly attacked by a group of eight gunmen in a mine office parking area in Timika in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province.
He said six security personnel guarding the building prevented the attackers from shooting more people. On March 22, rebels reportedly fired at military-owned aircraft carrying building materials in Pegunungan Bintang district.
The TPNPB News: Pasukan TPNPB Pegunungan Bintang Menembaki Helikopter Milik TNI.Laporan dari Komandan Operasi TPNPB Wilayah Pegunungan Binantang pada hari ini kepada awak media The TPNPBNews bahwa TNI menggunakan helikopter menjejaki markas TPNPB. Dan sejumlah wilayah kekuasaan TPNPB telah di turunkan Bom. Pada tanggal 23 Maret 2020 lalu, pesawat helikopter TNI melewati diatas pasukan TPNPB dan sempat pasukan TPNPB menembaki ke atas udara. Silahkan nonton Video singkat di bawah ini. Oleh Admin The TPNPB News.
Posted by The TPNPB News on Wednesday, April 1, 2020
The attack would be a violation of UN and Indonesian anti-terror laws. The rebel group portrayed as freedom fighters increasingly display a terrorist tendency with shootings and deliberate killings.
The joint communiques and statement by the spokesperson of the extremists suggests the attack was an intimidation tactic to halt production at the mine. This will be a hard hit for the already battered Indonesian economy.
Despite the claim of freedom fighters evidence suggests the Papua groups are joining alliances with the global Marxist activist scene. Papuan activists surfaced with the Oslo Freedom Forum and a NGO driven campaign displays a “Hong Kong like construct of narratives and methods’, says an expert on radical civil societies.
“We are very saddened by the loss of a colleague who died in the shooting incident in the PT Freeport Indonesia office area, in Kuala Kencana,” Riza said.
He said all staff had been transferred to a safe area nearby.
“Our top priority is ensuring the safety of all employees and their families,” Riza via a text message.
The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) operations commander, Hendrik Wamang, said his group was responsible for the shooting. We will keep fighting until Freeport stops operating and talks for the independence of Papua begin,” Sambom said.
The clashes, which began late last month near the Grasberg copper and gold mine in the restive province, earlier killed two security personnel and four Papuan independence fighters and injured several others.
The West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization, claimed responsibility on Monday for the attacks. In a statement, spokesman Sebby Sambom warned mine employees to leave company areas that the group declared in 2017 to be part of their battle zone.
“We will keep fighting until Freeport stops operating and talks for the independence of Papua begin,” Sambom said. The individual is supported by foreign activist to “promote the information flow to the west”. It is unclear at this juncture if the activist identified and the Indonesian intelligence services will take action or not.
However the recent attack, shooting at the airplane are concerning trends.
Riza Pratama, a spokesman for PT Freeport Indonesia, said the shooting Monday occurred in the Kuala Kencana office area in Timika. He said government security forces and company security personnel have secured the area and have evacuated all employees from nearby offices.
“We are very saddened by the loss of a colleague who died in a shooting incident that occurred in our office area,” Pratama said. It was unclear whether the shooting affected the company’s mining operations.
The current shootout has caused about 2,000 villagers to flee for safety to the neighbouring mining town of Timika.
Attacks by rebels near the Grasberg mine have spiked in the past year.
The mine, which is nearly half owned by U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan and is run by PT Freeport Indonesia, is seen by separatists as a symbol of Indonesian rule and has been a frequent target for rebels.
The Grasberg mine’s vast gold and copper reserves have been exploited for decades by Freeport-McMoRan, damaging the surrounding environment while providing significant tax income for the Indonesian government.
The activist scene has been active for some time. Expert warn of foreign activists changing the landscape in Indonesia with the armed forces ill equipped to deal with the new threats.
“Like in Hong Kong, the Papua OPM movement is a multi-dimensional spectrum”, a expert on radical civil society said, “Government officials struggle with complex social structures that do not fit into one-box narratives.”, It is to be seen how Indonesia deal with the new threats.”, he added.