13 Sep 2002

Papua human rights group accuses Indonesian military of staging ambush

10:20 am on 13 September 2002

A human rights group in Papua says the Indonesian government will not be able to properly investigate the Freeport mine killings because of competing interests between the military and police.

Els-ham's John Rumbiak says the investigation into the killing of two Americans and an Indonesian by unidentified gunmen two weeks ago will be a cover up of the military's involvement.

The government has blamed the Free Papua or OPM movement for the killings while others claim that the military staged the incident because of Freeport's refusal to continue paying them for protection.

He says the military, which played a major role during Suharto's rule, has had to source revenue from foriegn companies because of it's diminishing role in the country.

Mr Rumbiak says the military is left to stage ambushes to justify it's presence in Papua.

"The role of the military in this country is becoming more and more reduced and these people are now forced to go back to their barracks. I would say this incident is engineered to justify the role in the military, that without their presence, the operation of these multi-national corporations in Papua would not work."

John Rumbiak in Papua