Mine siege lifted after payoff

JAYAPURA (Indonesia) – A GROUP of armed men lifted a siege of a gold mine in Indonesia after receiving a payoff of a kilogram of gold and 11,000 dollars, police said on Thursday.

About 30 unidentified men armed with assault rifles and traditional weapons had besieged the mine near Nomouwodide village of remote Papua province for three days, police said.

‘They left after the miners gave them one kilogram of gold and 100 million rupiah (S$15,150) in cash,’ Papua police spokesman Agus Riyanto said. ‘They threatened to destroy the mining equipment if their request wasn’t met.’ He said the men had initially asked for 1.5 billion rupiah.

The group was reportedly led by a son of a Papuan separatist militia leader.

‘The situation and activity at the mine have returned to normal now but the people there asked us to send more personnel to secure the area,’ Mr Riyanto said.

Poorly-armed separatist guerrillas from Papua’s ethnic Melanesian majority have waged a low-level insurgency against Indonesian rule for decades, claiming Jakarta’s exploitation of the resource-rich region amounts to genocide. — AFP

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