More details emerge over violence at PNG asylum seeker camps
Details of violence on Manus Island remain sketchy as Australian Government stands by its claim detainees tried to escape.
The details of Sunday and Monday night's clashes at Papua New Guinea's Manus Island asylum seeker camps remain sketchy as the Australian Government stands by its claims that 77 injuries and one death occurred after the detainees tried to escape.
But witness statements are painting a picture of PNG police, locals and camp security attacking the people inside the compound.
Jamie Tahana reports:
At 11pm on Sunday, one of the first accounts of the clashes was made in a voicemail message sent to the Australia-based Asylum-Seeker Resource Centre. The man claims G4S guards were attacking people .
VOICEMAIL RECORDING: G4S staff [security guards], they started to beat the clients or transferees and then some of us ran away from the compound just to escape and secure their lives, when they couldn't secure their lives inside the compound that is why the people ran away. Maybe about 50 people are injured.
Half an hour later, another man called, also saying they were being attacked inside the camp.
VOICEMAIL RECORDING: I am talking to you now from the internet room, the telephone room. We've locked the door inside and cannot open it to anyone and they are still killing. I don't know how many of us of the injured but I can tell you that everyone is bleeding.
The campaign coordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Pamela Curr, says they haven't been able to establish any contact with the camp since those calls were made on Sunday night.
Jamie Tahana asked Pamela Curr what she knows.
PAMELA CURR: It's a confused picture, I wasn't there. At the moment we're only getting the spun view from the Minister for Immigration and the briefed-up PNG politicians. We won't get the full picture until we can get both sides of the story, but on the whole the people at the camp say that the local people are very friendly. So I suspect that more of it is PNG Police and PNG military. We shouldn't forget that the external perimeter of the camp is, at all times there is a lineup of PNG military armed with these assault rifles, these men stand there in the hot sun chewing betel nut all day. Ultimately, what they were attacked with in the first instance was stones and it is for that reason that so many people inside the camp suffered head injuries. There were many people who were slashed across the neck with bush knives and then of course they opened fire on two occasions. So we've got one dead, five critically injured have been to the Brisbane Mater Private Hospital and others were treated locally - 77 injured in all.
JAMIE TAHANA: Do we know the condition of those who were injured, the ones who are back inside the camp?
PC: No, there's been a complete shutdown of communications. No one is allowed to use email, no one has access to the phones, no one is allowed to speak to the interpreters, and neither are they allowed to speak to anyone else and the lawyers and migration agents are also under surveillance and they're not given any information.
JT: There's the one dead man, his identity hasn't been released yet. Do we know ...
PC: Ah well actually we believe that we have got his identity and he is a stateless Faili Kurd. Now the government is saying he is Iranian. He's not Iranian, he is a Faili Kurd who has come from Iran. They're a minority group who are very much discriminated against in Iran and this poor man has died in an Australian refugee camp having sought protection.
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