JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A 40-member team of police and forensics specialists arrived Sunday to investigate the deadly shooting of an Australian employee of U.S. mining giant Freeport in restive Papua province, officials said.
Indonesian doctors conducted a five-hour autopsy on the body, a doctor said, giving no details.
Saturday’s shooting – which police said may have been the work of a sniper – happened near the Grasberg site, one of the world’s largest open-pit mines.
Papua, a desperately poor and militarized province on Indonesia’s easternmost tip, is home to separatist rebels who denounce PT Freeport as a symbol of Jakarta’s rule. A surge in attacks in recent months has left several people dead.
Forensic department chief Dr. Munin Idris of Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital said the Australian Embassy took custody of the body of the 29-year-old technical expert after the autopsy.
Anti-terror forces continued to hunt for several suspects, while the team of investigators and forensics specialists arrived early Sunday, said Papua police chief Bagus Ekodanto.
PT Freeport said in a statement that the victim was traveling near the mine when his car came under fire. Ekodanto said the Australian was shot five times in the chest, neck and stomach. Three other passengers were unhurt.
Military spokesman Sagom Tamboen said three rebel suspects were detained later Saturday after a shootout in Yapen, 270 miles (440 kilometers) northwest of the mine, but said the men were probably too far away to have carried out the attack.
The Grasberg mining complex, one of the world’s largest single producers of copper and gold, has been a constant source of friction with local Papuans angered over the outflow of profit to foreign investors, while they remain poor.
Security was increased and business was not disrupted, said company spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan.
The Indonesian government does not allow foreign media to freely report in Papua, where it has tens of thousands of troops. The site of Saturday’s shooting was inaccessible to local reporters.
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