Manus asylum seekers fear local vigilante reprisals

| February 17, 2014 | Reply

In the aftermath of the detention protest last night, Manus Island locals have armed themselves with machetes, knives and guns. Asylum seekers have urged the media to come to the detention centre to ensure their safety.

One recent call from inside says that sections of the perimeter fence have already been torn down by locals. The detainees are growing increasingly anxious that they will be the victims of vigilante action.

There are reports that local PNG G4S guards have pulled out of at least one compound and asylum seekers have been told that if there is any attack by the locals, G4S will withdraw totally.

The asylum seekers are fearful that there will be a repeat of the situation last October when they were left defenceless when G4S pulled out the detention centre in the face of clashes between PNG army and PNG police.

“The number of broken hands, and baton injuries indicate a use of force last night out of all proportion. One asylum seeker has 70 stitches in his head. We want to see a full inquiry into the excessive use of force against the protesters,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The imposition of the detention centre on Manus Island has created local tensions from the very start. The lack of transparency about resettlement has added to the tensions.

“If those tensions are now turned on the asylum seekers themselves the responsibility will lie with the Australian government. The deal to establish a detention centre on Manus Island was always toxic.

“The detention centre has shattered the peace on Manus Island. Peace will not be restored until the detention centre is closed. In the meantime Scott Morrison is responsible for the safety of the asylum seekers he has dumped on Manus Island.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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