Monday, February 17, 2014

Manus Island: what we do and don't know

Manus Island - Picture from DIAC
It is unclear whether PNG police and locals entered the Manus Island complex and were involved in the killing and wounding of 78 asylum seekers.

On Monday night, violent events took place leaving one asylum seeker dead, one with a fractured skull and another shot in the buttocks.

Refugee advocates claim that locals and PNG entered the detention facility and inflicted the injuries.  Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says this is incorrect.

 Security firm G4S says locals did not enter the facility and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said PNG police did not entered the centre, but that injuries were sustained by asylum seekers when they escaped from the detention complex.

One of the key sources for the information relied on by refugee advocates was an asylum seeker who was evacuated from the centre for most of the day.

But refugee advocate Ian Rintoul says he has numerous statements from detainees and staff at the centre.

New Matilda is now reporting information from a "local source" that police entered the compound firing shots.  The course also reportedly claims locals resent the detention centre and were involved in aggression towards the detainees.   

What we know about events unfolding on Manus Island:

  •   More than 1300 detainees are currently on Manus Island – with no women or children.
  •  It is understood processing of asylum seekers’ claims is yet to begin.
  • Protests began on Manus Island on 25 January with detainees chanting for freedom and help.
  • There were reports in February that PNG police were called in to assist G4S guards deal with protestors.
  • 35 asylum seekers escaped the centre on Sunday night but were recaptured.
  • On Monday, eight asylum seekers were arrested and 19 were treated at the centre's medical clinic.
  • On Monday, some asylum seekers were evacuated from the centre and taken to a local oval.
  • The ABC has footage showing detainees gathered in a large group, some with covered faces, moving around inside a compound with police or guards outside.  Some objects appear to be thrown from the detainees – possibly a rock and a man is seen carrying a chair.
  • Scott Morrison confirmed on Tuesday that one man was killed and 77 injured in events at the detention centre on Monday night.  40 have been discharged from medical care.
  • 13 asylum seekers remain in hospital in a serious condition.
  • A man has a skull fracture and is being evacuated to Australia, while another person suffered a gunshot wound to the buttocks.

What we don’t know:
  • Did locals and PNG police break into the compound as suggested by refugee advocates? The security firm at the centre, G4S claims locals did not enter the compound.
  • How, where, and at the hands of whom was one detainee was killed?
  • What sorts of injuries were sustained by 77 wounded detainees?
  •  Were the injuries consistent with G4S practices?
  • Who fired the shots reportedly heard within the compound?

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