JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Three days of clashes between Indonesian police and gunmen near a U.S.-owned gold and copper mine in easternmost Papua province have killed one officer and wounded six others.
Papua police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said the latest attack happened Monday morning and injured four officers from Brimob, a paramilitary police force.
He said they were shot while evacuating the body of Berri Permana Putra, a police sergeant who was killed in a gunfight on Sunday in a hilly region of Sangket and carried by foot to the nearest town.
“They were attacked just moments after putting the body into an ambulance,” Kamal said.
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He claimed the assailants were part of the separatist Free Papua Movement led by Sabinur Walker.
A low-level insurgency for independence has simmered in Papua since it was transferred from Dutch to Indonesian rule in 1963.
The former Dutch colony on the western half of the island of New Guinea was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a sham referendum among its indigenous Melanesian people.
Two other police officers were wounded on Saturday while searching for gunmen who had fired on two cars from mine operator Freeport, including one driven by an American man.
The attacks happened near the giant Grasberg gold and copper mine owned by Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
Four wounded officers were being treated at Freeport’s Tembagapura Hospital while two others were flown to the Indonesian capital Jakarta.