Food Running Out as Freeport Mine Conflict Continues

The Jakarta Globe

Papuans living near the giant Grasberg mine operated by United States mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc say they are running out of food and medicine as Indonesian security forces maintain their blockade of the road leading to the mine.

Unknown gunmen killed three people in three separate attacks near the mine on Friday. Freeport has blamed strikers for several earlier incidents, including a clash with police that left two people dead and an alleged attack on a mine pipeline. Most of the mine’s unionized workers have taken part in the strike, which began on Sept. 15.

Sholikin, speaking at the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas Ham) in Jakarta on Monday, said the blockade had “severely impacted” on the local population.

Orpa Padwa, 45, a resident of Kuala Kencana in Mimika district, said food was running out.

“We mothers can only cry and cannot do anything else,” Orpa said as she wept. “The children cannot go to schools because we are afraid.”

She said she hoped the problems could be resolved as soon as possible “because we want to celebrate Christmas peacefully.”

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