30 Jan 2015

Manus guards accused of arbitrary raids

5:18 pm on 30 January 2015

Refugee advocates in Australia have accused security guards at the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre in Papua New Guinea of conducting arbitrary raids and confiscating mobile phones.

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Asylum seekers at Manus detention centre during protets. Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

Ian Rintoul, of the Refugee Action Coalition, says guards yesterday occupied Mike compound for five hours, going from room to room confiscating up to 20 mobile phones.

Australia's immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has previously said guards would be confiscating contraband in the wake of a two week long hunger strike and blockade at the centre that ended last week.

However, Mr Rintoul says mobile phones aren't contraband, and the raid also removed large amounts of personal items including clothes, MP3 players, nail clippers and blankets, as well as political banners.

Meanwhile, a letter purportedly from asylum seekers has accused Canberra of lying about the protests and criticises what they call a lack of support by the United Nations.