One employee killed and six injured during TPN PB attack on Freeport office

Media sources reported that members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) attacked the offices of mining company PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI) in Kuala Kencana on 30 March 2020. Around 2.00 pm, a group of TPBN PB fighters armed with three firearms and traditional weapons reportedly attacked PT FI workers in front of the office building. One employee was killed during the attack (see intro image, source: Suara Papua), two others injured by bullets. Their condition is still critical. Four workers sustained minor injuries and received ambulant medical care at the Freeport Hospital.

The TPN PB has claimed responsibility for the shooting. According to a TPN PB press release on the incident, the TPN PB asked PT Freeport Indonesia to stop all operations at the Freeport mine. Since late February 2020, armed resistance groups have launched multiple attacks against security forces guarding the area around the Freeport mine in the Mimika Regency. Repeated armed clashes between TPN PB groups and security forces had forced at least 1,500 indigenous Amungme people to flee their villages in early March 2020. The TPN PB regards PT Freeport Indonesia as an “exploitative company stealing the wealth from their ancestral lands”. It demanded the company to immediately stop all mining operations and urged all Freeport workers to leave the mining area.

The Vice President for Corporate Communications, Riza Pratama, stated in a media interview that PT FI does not intend to stop its operations, but will increase the security force presence at the mine to protect their workers and families. The Papuan Police Chief, Paulus Waterpauw, explained that there was no security post inside or fence around the PT FI office, making it easy for the attackers to enter and retreat. Police forces are currently trying to track down the perpetrators.