A situation is unfolding at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea, where reports have emerged that an armed group of locals has stormed the centre. Some asylum seekers and guards on Manus are saying that more than 100 shots have been fired.
BREAKING: Reports of a firefight at Papua New Guinea’s #Manus Island Detention Centre, prompting Australian staff to flee by boat #PNG pic.twitter.com/pfLqTFktXC
— Auskar Surbakti (@AuskarSurbakti) April 14, 2017
The ABC has reported that the PNG Navy, stationed next to the detention centre, has been exchanging fire with the locals. Amir Taghinia, an Iranian refugee, told the ABC that detention centre staff were fleeing the shooting:
“It’s crazy, many people are in shock. The Navy is shooting people.
“The staff were running out of the compound like crazy, I think they were getting on a ship.”
“Wilson security and all staff have fled the compounds, leaving refugees and asylum seekers unprotected and concerned for their lives”#manus https://t.co/soG8WExQ4Z
— SMRW (@smr_win) April 14, 2017
According to another Iranian asylum seeker, Benham Satah, the people firing into the detention centre were using high-powered weapons that were damaging camp buildings.
“They were repeatedly shooting and a couple of rooms have been shot.”
Reportedly the conflict began after an incident on a field outside the detention centre – possibly during a soccer game – after which the group of locals attempted to force their way into the centre. After being driven away by security, the group returned with firearms and began shooting. PNG police are responding to the reports.
Navy have shot more than 100 times, some of the bullets have hit rooms. The situation on #Manus is critical
— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) April 14, 2017
Some aspects of this situation mirror that the violence that occurred three years ago, which claimed the life of Iranian refugee Reza Barati.
There are no confirmed injuries or deaths as of yet. We will update this story as it develops.
Source: ABC / The Guardian.