JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Attacks by gunmen on security forces near the world’s largest gold mine in Indonesia’s restive Papua province have killed one police officer and wounded three others, police said Tuesday.
Attackers believed to be members of the West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization, ambushed a police patrol from a hill on Saturday, killing one officer and injuring two others, Papua police chief Paulus Waterpau said.
In a second attack, gunmen shot at a police car on Tuesday, injuring another officer, he said.
The attacks occurred in the mining town of Tembagapura in Papua, where rebels have been fighting a low-level insurgency for independence.
Riza Pratama, a spokesman for PT Freeport Indonesia, the company that runs the Grasberg copper and gold mine, said gunshots were heard near its work area, prompting the company to turn on sirens to warn employees and their families who live on the site.
He said the company has urged workers to be vigilant, but the attacks would not affect its operations.
The U.S. company Freeport-McMoRan owned 90% of the Grasberg mine when it started operating in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua region in 1973. PT Inalum, an Indonesian state-owned mining company, took over a 51.2% stake of the mine from the U.S. company in 2018.
The mine has been hit by arson, roadside attacks and blockades.