February 7, 2012 / 12:15 PM / 6 years ago

Police say officer killed near Freeport Indonesia mine

JAKARTA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen killed a police officer on patrol near Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc’s mine in Indonesia on Tuesday in the latest violence to hit the world’s second largest copper mine, police and a company spokesman said.

The shooting took place in central Papua about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of the Grasberg mine, which is slowly getting back to normal after a three-month strike that shook labor relations in southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Freeport Indonesia spokesman Ramdani Sirait declined to comment on whether the shooting, on the East Levee Road, had affected the mine’s operation but he said the road had been cordoned off as police investigated.

Gunmen have killed 14 people and injured 50 others since July 2009, Freeport said in January. The toll includes workers, security officers and illegal miners but it is unclear who is behind the attacks.

“There was a shootout between our men and the unidentified gunmen and one of our personnel died,” national police spokesman Mochammad Taufik told reporters. “The officer was wearing a helmet but he was shot in the head just below the helmet.”

The patrol of 10 officers got a tip-off about the movement of unidentified people south of Grasberg and searched the area near the East Levee road.

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