Saturday, November 18, 2017

1) High noon in Papua: conflict simmers around Freeport mine

2) Armed Criminals Set Freeport Truck on Fire
3) Expressing Anger, Armed Criminal Group Burns Haul Truck of PT Freeport
4) Freeport Evacuating Mine Worker Families after Shootings


NOVEMBER 19 2017 - 12:15AM

1) High noon in Papua: conflict simmers around Freeport mine
Jewel Topsfield   Amilia Rosa

What happened to Martinus Beanal?
The truth is, no one knows. Even the bare facts surrounding his disappearance are murky.

                                                Martinus Beanal, right, at his work. Photo: Supplied

According to police in the Indonesian province of Papua, Beanal was shot in the head in the jungle.
He worked for a firm that supplied food to Freeport McMoRan, the US mining giant that runs Grasberg, one of the world's largest copper and gold mines.
The mine is carved deep into the mountains in the remote and restive province.
The area surrounding Grasberg – which many indigenous Papuans see as the root of their oppression – has long been the site of a low-level insurgency
Members of an armed group known as the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM), who describe themselves as freedom fighters, say they are fighting here for independence.

They believe the lucrative mine is the primary reason why Indonesia acquired Papua in 1969, after a highly flawed UN-backed ballot for independence in which only a handful of the local population were allowed to vote.
Grasberg generates billions of dollars in revenue for Freeport. The Indonesian government also benefits: Freeport is their largest taxpayer.
However most Papuans stand to gain little from the mine. Their province remains the poorest in Indonesia, with 28 per cent of people living below the poverty line.
Violent attacks have spiked in the mining area in recent weeks amid negotiations over a plan for Freeport to divest 51 per cent of its stake in Grasberg to the Indonesian government.
On November 7, Martinus Beanal had been trying to return to his village of Banti, which had been cut off by the conflict, to be with his wife and four children.

Four days later he was reportedly found in the woods near the village with a hole in his head.
"Actually, it was the family that found him and then they told us and we collected the body together," Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz told Fairfax Media.

He said no autopsy was performed: "The family simply took it and buried it."
This version of events was also reported in the local media. But it was news to Beanal's family, who were shocked when they read the newspaper reports.
"We still have no idea where my brother is or what happened to him," Kristina Beanal told Fairfax Media. "No one collected a body, let alone buried the body."
The police blame his disappearance on KKB, an acronym for "armed criminal group", which is how they refer to the TPNPB-OPM. The TPNPB-OPM blames police or the military.

All Kristina knows is that Martinus had set out for Banti at 5am on November 7.
He trekked through the jungle to avoid the 125-kilometre road that snakes between the lowland village of Timika and the mine, which is where "the fights have always taken place".
Two of Martinus' nephews agreed to meet him halfway. But as they reached an area known as Mile 68, they heard a gunshot.
"My nephews ran and returned to the village," Kristina said.  "The next day our big Beanal family went to search for him. [We searched] for days, we still haven't found him."
Kristina said the family would have insisted on an autopsy. They also would have wanted his body back.
"In our culture, until we know what happened to him, until he is returned home, we can't grieve. I have been doing just that, holding back any tears."
When Fairfax Media asked - on two separate occasions - about the discrepancy in accounts, Papuan police promised to "double check and confirm". There was no response before publication.
According to local activist Adolfina Kuum, cases like this are frequent in Papua. "People go missing and then they are found dead, or just simply [remain] missing. The cases go unresolved. We never find out what happened to them."
On November 15, another family in Papua was left grieving. Brigadier Firman, a member of the police paramilitary force Brimob, was shot while patrolling the area around the mine. His wife is six months pregnant.

TPNPB-OPM commander Hendrik Wanmang told Fairfax Media the group was responsible for the attack: "We are at war … we are fighting the Indonesian government."
Firman's father-in-law, John Manangsang, was remarkably gracious. He said it was important that the government did not recklessly punish anyone.
"I personally can't blame anyone but today's lesson is my child made a sacrifice for this country," Manangsang said.
"We don't know for sure who committed it, and what the motive is. I ask for it not to be quickly determined. This is a very complicated phenomenon."

The shooting is the 15th in the area since mid-August. Two police officers have now been killed and at least 12 people wounded. A Freeport ambulance was shot at, injuring a woman who had just given birth.
For more than two weeks the TPNPB-OPM blocked access to villages in the conflict zone although it insisted it was not holding villagers hostage.
One woman told Fairfax Media her eight-month-old baby had run out of formula a week ago and was being fed on rice porridge and water.
She said 20 villagers tried to leave the village of Kembeli when the situation became tense on October 29, but were stopped at a roadblock.
"The men held guns to their necks and said they wouldn't do anything, but they had to go back. They trashed their belongings on the road. They took my parents' phone."
Police warned the villages were running out of food and medicine and the hospital in Banti was closed because doctors didn't feel safe after their ambulance was shot at.
They initially tried to negotiate with TPNPB-OPM, fearing civilians could be killed if they forcibly entered the villages to evacuate those who wished to leave.
But on Friday their patience ran out. The military and police entered the villages and evacuated 344 people. Children rode on the shoulders of their parents as they were evacuated along a mountainous trail.
"The joint task force now has control over the two villages," Papua National Armed Forces spokesman Muhammad Aidi told Fairfax Media. "There was some resistance from the group but we managed to push them out of the villages."
Some native Papuans chose not to be evacuated but police said they had requested protection from the joint task force in the villages until the situation was safe.
But those who stayed behind remain edgy they could be caught up in any future violence between the police and military and the TPNPB-OPM.
Some of those evacuated were originally from Toraja in South Sulawesi.
Yohanis Batto, the Torajan association group leader in Timika, thanked the police and military for evacuating without any civilian casualties.
He said physically the evacuees were fine "but mentally they are traumatised".
When Batto spoke to the Torajan evacuees they vowed never to return to villages in the mining area. "They might still try to make a living in Timika, but not up there, they are too traumatised."
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has arguably paid more attention to Papua than any president since Suharto, according to an October 31 report by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.
"Jokowi has made serious efforts to lower prices for basic goods, reduce the isolation of remote areas by building more roads, build markets for Papuan women and increase access to education," the report says. "Nevertheless the political wing of the independence movement inside Papua has grown more active, not less."
It says the government has made at least three miscalculations in its Papua policies: that economic development would make political grievances go away, that fraudulent local elections could be safely ignored and that past human rights violations would be easy to resolve.
The report says the divestment of Freeport is "consuming Papua at the moment".
"There is a high probability of continued tensions as different parties within Indonesia contend for huge economic stakes," it says. "Any violence in the Freeport area can involve multiple actors with multiple interests."
Few people know this better than Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono, who has spent years documenting murky deaths in the Freeport mine area.
Harsono says there have been regular shootings along the road between Timika, which he describes as a "wild wild town", and the mine. These include the 2002 murder of two American teachers and an Indonesian and the 2009 killing of Melbourne Freeport mine worker Drew Grant.
Harsono says none of the 50 or so cases have ever been properly resolved.
In 2007, Harsono and US academic Eben Kirksey wrote Murder at Mile 63, a detailed account of the shooting of the American teachers.
The report questions whether the pro-independence Papuan guerrillas sentenced over the attack acted alone. It says an initial police investigation implicated Indonesian military troops in the attack.
Why would the Indonesian military stage an attack at the Freeport mine?
One theory, the report says, was that Freeport had been reducing official and unofficial payments to Indonesian security forces. "The August 2002 attack may have been orchestrated by the Indonesian military in a bid to convince Freeport of their continued need for security."
Fifteen years later, Harsono is not optimistic police will be able to identify the perpetrators of the latest shootings or resolve the disappearance of Martinus Beanal.
He said Papuans are angry with Freeport and want to have control over the mine. "This is not something that can be solved overnight," he said.
"If negotiations with the Indonesian government and Freeport involved Papuan officials it would reduce tension and dissatisfaction."
Meanwhile, the families and friends of Brigadier Firman and Martinus Beanal mourn the loss of their loved ones.
"My brother had no criminal history, he was not carrying any weapon, he only had with him a bag with some food that day," said Kristina Beanal. "He wasn't siding with anyone to make him a target. He was just this kind and good man."
SATURDAY, 18 NOVEMBER, 2017 | 16:08 WIB
2) Armed Criminals Set Freeport Truck on Fire

TEMPO.COJayapura - A group of armed criminals on Saturday, Nov. 18., at 6 a.m. Eastern Indonesian Time set haul truck belonging to Freeport on fire in Lower Wanagon.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli on Saturday confirmed the burning of heavy equipment belonging to Freeport and also the unsuccessful attempt of gunning down an employee’s car.
Based on the police report, the acts were committed by 10 people.
An employee from the geo-tech division saw two armed men and immediately took a detour. While he was taking a detour, the two men fired their guns, but they missed him, Boy explained. The incident was reported to the security.
Boy cannot confirm whether the perpetrators are the same group committed an act of terror in Tembagapura.
"It is possible that the perpetrators are the same because they know the filed really well," the PapuaPolice chief said.


3) Expressing Anger, Armed Criminal Group Burns Haul Truck of PT Freeport

Saturday, 18 November 2017 | 12:42 WIB

TIMIKA, NETRALNEWS.COM - One unit of haul truck belongs to PT Freeport Indonesia was burned in the area of Lower Wanagon, Grasberg, Tembagapura District, Mimika, Papua on Saturday (11/18/2017) at around 6 am (Eastern Indonesian Time/WIT).
Head of Public Relations Division of Papua Regional Police Ahmad Mustofa Kamal in Timika, Saturday, told reporters that the arson allegedly was committed by the armed criminal group (KKB) Kali Kabur.
"Those we attacked retreated from the Kimbeli and Banti areas running to the back of Banti village then climbed up [to Wanagon, Grasberg] and committed the action," Ahmad said.
According to him not all areas are blocked by members of the Task Force because it consists of steep cliffs. The burning said Ahmad is an expression of anger showed by the KKB.
He also said that the fires were carried out by 10 KKB members who had previously also fired several shots.
"[According to] information we got from some employees who were there at the scene of the event [said] it was like that but because of fear they at the time of burning could not do anything," he said as quoted from Antara.
Meanwhile, a number of officers from the National Vital Security Task Force consisting of Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and National Police (Polri) immediately moved to the scene to investigate considering the location of the incident is also approachable.
SATURDAY, 18 NOVEMBER, 2017 | 19:16 WIB
4) Freeport Evacuating Mine Worker Families after Shootings

TEMPO.COTimika - U.S. miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc is evacuating spouses and children of workers from its giant Indonesian copper mine after a string of shootings in the area raised security concerns, company sources said.
The move follows efforts by the authorities on Friday to evacuate villages near Freeport’s Grasberg mine in the eastern province of Papua that authorities said had been occupied by armed separatists.
Since August at least 12 people have been injured and two police officers have been killed by gunmen with suspected links to separatist rebels.
Freeport has asked family and household members of its employees to prepare over the weekend for a temporary relocation from the mining town of Tembagapura, about 10 km (6.2 miles) from Grasberg, the sources said. Workers have been asked to stay behind and maintain their work schedule, they said.
Details of the evacuation or the number of people impacted were not immediately clear. Shots were fired at a light vehicle and two large mining trucks were set on fire at Grasberg on Saturday, one of the sources said.
A spokesman for Freeport Indonesia and Papuan police did not respond to requests for comment on the matter. The sources declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to media.
Grasberg is the world's second-largest copper mine by volume.
The separatist West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM) says it is at war with Indonesian authorities and wants to “destroy” Freeport in an effort to gain sovereignty for the region.
TPN-OPM has claimed responsibility for the shootings but denies police allegations it took civilian hostages. 

No comments:

Post a Comment