Third body found near Papua mine PDF Afdrukken

Wounded Freeport staff in jeep, 12 July 09

The body of a policeman has been found near a US Freeport gold mine in the Indonesian province of Papua, raising the recent death toll there to three.

Indonesia has increased its deployment of security forces to the province after the death of two mine employees.

The unexplained series of shootings began over the weekend.

The mine has previously been a target of Papuan separatist anger, but has also been the site of fighting between soldiers and police.

On Saturday, a 29-year old Australian employee of Freeport Mining was shot at and killed by unknown attackers while he was travelling in a Freeport vehicle at dawn, reportedly as he was on his way to play golf.

On Sunday, a Freeport security guard died after a gun battle reportedly broke out between Indonesian police and unknown attackers. The shooting took place near Freeport's Grasberg mining complex, one of the world's largest producers of copper and gold.

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Freeport Mining's Indonesian spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan says that security has been tightened in the area and that the mine's operations have not been disturbed.

Mr Pangaribuan told the BBC's Indonesia correspondent Karishma Vaswani that these are the first fatal shootings of Freeport employees since the killing of two American workers at the firm in 2002.

The huge Grasberg mine is a source of friction with local people, who have complained about its environmental impact and their share of any revenue generated by the company.

Separatist insurgents have also been active in resource-rich Papua province since the end of Dutch colonial rule in 1962.