‘Case Closed’ on Military Links to US Deaths in Papua: Govt

JAKARTA ~ Indonesia will not reopen investigations into the 2002 killing of two US teachers in remote Papua province despite a report alleging the military’s involvement, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The report on Monday in the peer-reviewed South East Asia Research Journal said military agents had helped organize an ambush that killed three staff of US giant Freeport McMoRan near its massive Grasberg gold and copper mine.

American and Indonesian investigators found that Papuan separatist rebels were behind the attack, but local rights groups have long claimed the military had a hand in the killings in the far-eastern province.

“What is clear, specifically the investigation by police and the FBI, is that the US government is very satisfied with the process and its findings,” said Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda.

“In other words, this case is in fact closed,” he said.

The study found military agents had manipulated and helped arm Papuan rebel Antonius Wamang, who was sentenced to life in jail in 2006 for leading the attack which killed the two Americans and an Indonesian colleague.

Local politician Agus Anggaibak was one of several military agents who had manipulated Wamang into carrying out the attack, which also wounded 12 other mostly American Freeport employees, it said.

The attack was likely organized in order to convince Freeport to keep paying millions of dollars to local military units every year to protect its mining operations, the report added.

In 2003, Freeport acknowledged paying the military about US$5.6 million the previous year to protect its employees.

The report also said US investigators deliberately overlooked military links to the attack in order to smooth the way for efforts by President George W. Bush’s administration to ease military aid restrictions against Indonesia.

Papua has been troubled by a low-level insurgency by mostly poorly armed rebels since its takeover by Indonesian forces in 1963.

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