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Thursday 6 March 2014

#AUSTRALIA #PNG #MANUS #AsylumSeekers: an update on the...

#AUSTRALIA #PNG #MANUS #AsylumSeekers: an update on the situation on Manus, especially wrt G4S v. Police versions of what happened that night.





G4S employee contradicts PNG police report on Manus violence

Story by ABC Australia:

An Australian employee of the security firm on Manus Island has contradicted a leaked PNG police internal incident report into the violence at the detention centre.

That report says G4S security staff lost control of the camp, but G4S staffer has told AM that the PNG police stood back and allowed locals to break into the compound, did nothing to stop the beatings, and in some cases joined in the violence and intimidation.

The riot has left many of the expat G4S staff traumatised. Some have left the island suffering from serious post traumatic stress and one who has spoken to the ABC, and says the situation is now so tense that the asylum seekers are refusing to have anything to do with local staff.

And a warning: This story from our national security correspondent Michael Brissenden contains some disturbing details.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Speaking on condition of anonymity, one Australian G4S employee, who describes themselves as badly traumatised after witnessing a frenzy of out of control violence, has told the ABC that after a second night of protest at the detention centre G4S staff asked to withdraw from the facility and agreed to hand over security to PNG police.

The source says PNG police then fired five or six warning shots and stood back as enraged locals poured into the compound over a back fence. Locals employed by G4S were the first ones in, followed by contract staff.

To protect the identity of the G4S employee, the statements are being read by an actor.

G4S EMPLOYEE (voiceover): We saw them going in with machetes. They had anything they could pick up: rocks, sticks, the poles from the exercise weights. Once they knocked people to the ground, they were stomping on their heads with their boots. A day later you could still see guards and staff and cleaners walking around with blood on their boots.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: One of the injured asylum seekers has also told AM what happened to him in this interview recorded from hospital after the attack:

ASYLUM SEEKER (translated): Six people were on top of me, hitting me. At the end I was holding my hand to my face to protect my face from being hit. Then (redacted) came; I know him personally. He kicked me with his military boots on my face.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Contrary to the PNG police incident report that describes it as exclusively a confrontation between G4S guards and asylum seekers, the G4S employee says once the violence began, PNG police did nothing to try and control the situation and some even joined in.

G4S EMPLOYEE (voiceover): The police went from room to room as well and held guns to people’s heads and said, ‘If you don’t give me your cigarettes, we’re going to shoot you.’

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Some local staff and expats were also inside trying to get transferees out and protect others with shields. One expat guard lay across a terrified asylum seeker to prevent him being shot.

G4S EMPLOYEE (voiceover): There were guys who wet themselves and shit their pants out of total fear. There are handles broken where they’ve tried to get in and the transferees have been holding the doors closed, and they’ve snapped the handles off and they’ve tried to get in with machetes.

There was blood everywhere; faces kicked in, noses - it’s all head injuries. I just remember blood everywhere I looked. Blood everywhere.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Eventually, the wounded were taken to the wharf.

G4S EMPLOYEE (voiceover): The wharf was full from one end to the other and there were puddles of blood everywhere. They did an emergency tracheotomy out in the open. There were people moaning; it was terrible. Everyone pitched in to do what they could. You just needed every single person who was there.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The G4S guard says the asylum seekers now feel so unsafe that when they tried to bring local cleaners in the day after the incidents, it just about started another riot. The asylum seekers now want nothing to do with any of the locals.

The expat staff member says the atmosphere is now so tense that it won’t take anything much to kick off another round of unrest. The asylum seekers are asking them who they can trust, and who’s going to keep them safe.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Michael Brissenden reporting.

And the Immigration minister Scott Morrison’s office says there are three investigations underway into the Manus Island incident, including a full independent inquiry headed by Robert Cornall, which seek to establish the events on Manus Island that evening, and the Minister will await the outcome of the reviews.

He also said the Government has taken steps with the PNG Government to ensure there is information sharing, cooperation and convergence, as appropriate, to get the clearest possible picture of what occurred that night.

And AM has repeatedly tried to contact Papua New Guinea’s deputy commissioner of police operations Simon Kauba, without success.


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