17 Jul 2009

Indonesia blames Freeport attacks on foreign countries

9:39 am on 17 July 2009

Indonesia's defence minister is claiming foreign countries could be behind a series of deadly ambushes near a US-owned goldmine in Indonesia's remote Papua province that have killed three people.

An australian was shot dead at the weekend, when his car was attacked on the single road from the mountain-top mine, while a guard was killed in an ambush on the same road.

Juwono Sudarsono says the attacks by unidentified gunmen near Freeport McMoRan's massive Grasberg gold and copper mine could be an effort by foreign competitors to close the mine down,

He says foreign NGOs and governments had a history of backing groups that "agitate" in Papua, which has been the site of a separatist conflict since the 1960s.

When asked which countries he was talking about, Mr Sudarsono referred to neighbouring countries to the south.

Indonesia's southern neighbours are Australia and New Zealand.