Dozens of people vandalized Freeport facilities and looted ore concentrate at the copper and gold giant’s mining district in Mimika, Papua, on Sunday.
Witnesses said that around 70 people came to the mining area, looting and vandalizing cars and a security post.
Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. I Gede Sumerta Jaya confirmed on Monday that the incident had taken place.
“The perpetrators are residents who are non-employees... They came up to the Mile 74 mining area quietly,” he said.
He added that besides vandalizing vehicles, the perpetrators also vandalized buses for employees and caused general alarm. “After entering the site, the group vandalized passing vehicles and also the office and started to shout, scaring the employees and sending them fleeing,” Sumerta said.
Security officers, aided by police and military personnel, were only able to regain control of the site two hours later. Several of the vandals were arrested and taken into the custody of the Tembagapura Police.
“A group of seven people who fled through the Camp Davit river were apprehended and sent back to a village near the mining area,” Sumerta said.
The situation has returned to normal, with a heavy security presence in place.
Freeport sent five buses to the site to evacuate some of the employees. Sumerta said that some of those who had returned to the barracks had refused to return to the worksite.
It is still not clear what losses were incurred from the vandalism and looting. The police also have not named anyone a suspect yet.