Police and locals run amok on Manus Island: scores injured; fears for the lives of asylum seekers

| February 18, 2014 | Reply

Scores of asylum seekers have been injured, some seriously as gangs of armed PNG police and locals go from compound to compound attacking any asylum seekers they can find.

Asylum seekers were left defenceless when all staff and G4S guards were evacuated from the detention centre. Tension with groups of locals had been building throughout the day. G4S had already withdrawn from Mike compound late Monday afternoon.

The attacks started late Monday night after the power was cut to the detention centre. PNG police and locals then had the run of the detention centre.

Locals armed with machetes, pipes, sticks and stones – have bashed and cut asylum seekers. One asylum seeker has been thrown from the second floor of a building; others have suffered machete cuts. There is one report that a man has been left with his eye hanging from its socket after a bashing.

Asylum seekers fled from their compounds into the dark in a desperate attempt to flee from their attackers. A call from Mustafa in Mike compound around 11pm said that there were only five or six people left in his compound and they were now fleeing to try and find safety. People had fled all the other compounds. Mustafa said that he was covered in his own blood from cuts to the head, hand and arms. He estimated at least 50 people in Mike compound alone had been injured.

One of the last of the staff to be taken out of the detention centre around midnight Monday night said it will be a miracle if no-one is killed.

Gunshots can be heard in the background of calls coming from the detention centre.

“The blood spilled inside the Manus detention centre is on the Immigration Minister’s hands. Manus Island has always been a disaster waiting to happen,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Scott Morrison deliberately played down the seriousness of the situation and the danger that asylum seekers faced. It seems clear now that the injured asylum seekers were deliberately treated inside the detention centre to hide the scale and seriousness of the injuries suffered on Sunday night.

“It must be clear now that asylum seekers cannot live safely on Manus Island. They should never have been taken there. Asylum seekers must be brought to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


Category: Press releases

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