Papua Council wants independent investigation into Freeport incident

Papua Council wants independent investigation into Freeport incident

The Jakarta Post, National

The Papua Council Presidium (PDP) has called on the central government to form an independent team to investigate a series of shooting along the road to Freeport Indonesia's Gresberg gold and copper mine in Papua.

PDP secretary general Thaha M. Alhamid said on Thursday that the team could include people from various quarters, including those from the government, security authorities and elements from society who have strong commitment to disclose the truth behind the incidents.

"Let's support an independent investigation to find facts, what and who are behind this incident," Thoha told Antara news agency on Thursday.

Five shooting incidents occurred in the past few days along the road between the town of Timika and Grasberg mine, killing three people: an Australian working for Freeport, a Freeport security guard and a police officer and injuring several other security officers.

Authorities initially named Free Papua Organization (OPM) leader Kelly Kwalik as the suspected mastermind of the attacks, but official statements now refer to an armed group of professional marksmen.

The National Police and the Army have deployed officers to investigate the series of shootings and have started to comb the area around the site of the attacks.

Several analysts have suggested that the violence is likely the result of a long-standing rivalry between paramilitary police units and soldiers competing for control of illegal multimillion-dollar protection and gold mining businesses around Freeport.

Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono asked people to refrain from speculating on police rivalry in comments to the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent's Club Wednesday, as quoted by the Associated Press. But he noted that "rouge elements" in the military might have a hand in the unrest.