Violence Erupts at Indonesian Gold Mine

At least two policemen were injured in a clash with gunmen near the Freeport-McMoran gold mining facility in Papua, according to a New York Times report.

Authorities blamed separatists from the Free Papua Movement for violence over the last week, but Papuan officials quoted in Indonesian news sources stated the group lacks the weaponry used in the ambushes.

Indonesian news sources also speculated that military or police that perform protection services for Freeport-McMoran might have executed the ambushes for job security reasons.

Indonesia’s defense minister, Jowono Sudarsono, said Wednesday that there was no “proof” that active military or police were involved in the attacks. But he allowed that “rogue elements” or “deserters” from the military or police could be responsible, the New York Times report added. 

Jowono Sudarsono, Indonesia’s defense minister.
Jowono Sudarsono, Indonesia’s defense minister.

Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoran employs 20,000 workers in operating the world’s largest gold mine.