26 Jun 2006

Police to take control of security at Papua mine

6:19 pm on 26 June 2006

Indonesian National Police will take over security at the Papua mine of US-company Freeport from the military beginning in July.

The Jakarta Post quotes Papua Police chief Inspector General Tommy Jacobus as saying that while police will be given the main responsibility for security at the gold and copper mine in Timika, the Indonesian Military would maintain a presence in the area.

General Jacobus says some 600 elite Mobile Brigade personnel are receiving "cultural sensitivity" training before deployment to help prevent potential clashes with Papuans as a result of cultural misunderstandings.

He says, for instance, sometimes Papuans stare like they are angry, but that is just their style.

General Jacobus says the police will be deployed on a six-month basis at the mine, with the possibility of their operation being extended if necessary.

He says around 350 military personnel would remain in the area under the police's authority, because security remains at risk of disturbances by separatist groups.