2 killed as Freeport's car burned in Indonesia

AP News
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Posted: Apr 08, 2011 12:37 AM
2 killed as Freeport's car burned in Indonesia

Two employees of U.S. mining giant Freeport were killed when the company car they were traveling in caught fire near the world's largest gold mine in a restive Indonesian province, the company and police said Friday.

Ramdani Sirait, a spokesman for Freeport Indonesia, said police had suggested to them that unidentified gunmen had fired at the car.

However, Maj. Mada Indra Laksanta, deputy chief of local police, said it was too early to conclude that the car was shot at.

Another officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said scene investigators had found a bullet casing near the burned car.

Thursday's incident came just one day after unidentified gunmen ambushed a Freeport van, injuring two employees. Sirait said the latest incident did not affect operations at the mine in Papua province, which has been a target of violence since production began there in the 1970s.

Laksanta said that the bodies of the victims were beyond recognition, but the officer identified them as Freeport's Indonesian security manager and his deputy.

The mine is run by Arizona-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.

Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, is home to a four-decade-old, low-level insurgency against the government, and members of the Free Papua Movement _ who see Freeport as a symbol of outside rule _ have been blamed by authorities for the attacks.