31 Jul 2015

Centre staff hamper Manus rape investigation

8:32 am on 31 July 2015
The Manus Island Detention Centre in PNG

Staff accommodation block at Manus Island Detention Centre in PNG Photo: EMTV

The Papua New Guinea police say staff at the Manus Island Detention centre initially refused to hand over reports on a sexual assault.

Three security guards working for Transfield Services, contracted by the Australian government to run the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre, have been accused of raping a female worker at the centre.

Manus provincial police commander, Alex N'Drasal, says the investigation has been hampered first by the removal of the guards from the country, and then by the centre failing to cooperate with the police.

"When I sent my investigators to fetch the medical report, there was some tension that really annoyed me, that these guys really questioned them, and told them they were not going to give them the medical report and finally my investigators told them that it was the directive from my office then they handed over the medical report to them. This is not good enough."

Alex N'Drasal says if the three guards are not returned to face prosecution, he will arrest the managers of the centre for perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile, rumours of possible violent clashes between local PNG people and Wilson Security over the alleged rape has also raised anxieties amongst asylum seekers.

The Refugee Action Coalition says asylum seekers are worried that they could be the victims of any attack on the detention centre, as they were in February 2014, when Reza Bararti was killed .

There have been threats of violence since the alleged rape, when families of the woman involved demanded that Wilson's hand over the security guards allegedly involved in the assault on the woman.

Transfield immediately issued warnings to staff not to leave the accommodation after 6pm, and concerns escalate.

The Refugee Action Coalition reports that an asylum seeker speaking from Manus Island says they are asking for help, and are not safe.

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