Jakarta (Antara) – Papuan gunmen fired at an escort car owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) at around Mile 60 in Tembagapura Subdistrict, Mimika District, Papua Province, on Saturday but there were no casualties in the incident, a military spokesman said.
The gunmen who fired at the PTFI's "Delta Zone" escort car might belong to an armed Papuan rebel group, led by Hengki Wamang, Spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Colonel Eko Daryanto told ANTARA in Jayapura on Saturday evening.
The ill-fated vehicle was attacked when the driver and its two passengers, Latif and Matthew Philips Driven by Ramadhani, were waiting for the coming of an employee shuttle bus coming from the Timika bus terminal, he said.
The shooting occurred at around 3:50 p.m. local time. Ten minutes later, several members of the Indonesian military and police task force were deployed to the site of the attack to assist the victims and secure the Mile 60 area, he said.
"No one is injured in the shooting incident," he said, adding that the military and police personnel should stay alert on the armed Papuan criminals who were keen to disrupt Papua's security.
He also urged local people to remain calm and cautious. The attack occurred ahead of the commemoration of the Free Papua Movement's (OPM's) anniversary on Dec 1.
Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw had earlier warned of the potential security threats posed by the armed Papuan groups at the mining sites of gold and copper mining firm PTFI ahead of the commemoration of the OPM's anniversary.
The reports he had obtained found that several groups of armed Papuan rebels from Pegunungan Tengah in Jayawijaya District were observed in Intan Jaya District and were heading toward the mining areas of PT Freeport Indonesia, he stated.
Waterpauw said he had instructed security agencies' special team members to constantly monitor the movements of criminals, he remarked, adding that civil and religious leaders were also approached to prevent residents from being provoked by the groups.
By and large, the security situation across Papua Province remains under control, he stated.
Papua and West Papua have come under the radar of both the Indonesian and foreign media after a spate of violence erupted in several parts of these two Indonesian provinces in August and September 2019.
On August 28, violence erupted in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.
The indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura again held protests on August 29, as they vented their ire over alleged racist behavior against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then took a violent turn.
On September 23, a deadly riot had erupted in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, killing 33 civilians, including a senior medical doctor, who had served the native Papuans for 15 years.