Six wounded in ambush near US mine in Indonesia: police

TIMIKA, Indonesia, Jan 24, 2010 (AFP) - Six people were wounded Sunday in a shooting ambush near US company Freeport McMoRan's massive gold and copper mine in Indonesia's eastern Papua region, police said.

Three policemen and three mine workers were hurt in the ambush on a convoy of buses and land cruisers heading to the coastal city of Timika from the Grasberg mine, senior police officer Mada Aksanta told reporters.

"We're combing the area of the incident to gather evidence... we're still investigating who the perpetrators are," Aksanta said.

One of the employees was a foreigner, James Lockhart, who received a wound near his left eye from flying glass, he added.

Papua province police spokesman Agus Riyanto told reporters Lockhart is a US national and he, as well as two injured policemen, are being flown to a hospital in Jakarta for treatment.

"The national police and the military are still chasing (the shooters)," he added.

The attack is the latest in a string of mysterious ambushes on the road linking the mine with Timika.

Australian mine technician Drew Grant was killed in an attack on July 11 last year, while a Freeport security guard and a policeman were killed the following day.

The Freeport mine sits on some of the world's richest gold reserves and the US company's local subsidiary is the largest single taxpayer to the Indonesian government.

Papua, a resource-rich region on the western end of New Guinea island, has been the site of a low-level separatist insurgency since its incorporation into Indonesia in the 1960s.

Source: AFP

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