JAYAPURA, Indonesia Mar 19 (AP): Police special forces pulled people from cars and beat them Saturday, two days after a mob bludgeoned to death four of their security colleagues to demand the shutdown of a US-owned gold mine in eastern Indonesia.
The mob killed three police officers and an air force officer Thursday in a rampage when gun-toting security forces fired tear gas and charged protesters with batons in Jayapura.
Protesters say the mine owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. has earned the New Orleans-based company billions of dollars, but the local community has received little benefit.
Police have arrested 12 people linked to the violence on charges ranging from murder and assault to destruction of property, spokesman Col. Kartono Wangsadisastra. He said the incidents involving paramilitary police on Saturday were isolated and would be thoroughly investigated.
The killing of the four underscored the hatred many Papuans feel toward Indonesian soldiers and police. A decades-long separatist rebellion in the province has left more than 100,000 dead, many of them civilians who suffered from mistreatment, starvation and other consequences of the war.
Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, is Indonesia's most remote province, politically and geographically. It has a population of around 800,000 and is off-limits to foreign journalists and diplomats. The eastern part of the island forms Papua New Guinea.
On Saturday, special mobile police units were deployed in the streets of the Indonesian province, guarding a road that connects Jayapura and the airport.
Shooting into the air, the security forces pulled people out of their cars, kicking and beating them.
"We are investigating the incidents and some officers are being questioned," said Wangsadisastra.