NEWS

Activist Groups Call For Manus Island To Be Evacuated After 100 Shots Fired

The "synergy of suffering" continues.

14/04/2017 8:59 PM AEST | Updated 16/04/2017 4:15 PM AEST

Church and refugee advocate groups have called for the evacuation of the Manus Island Detention Centre in Papua New Guinea following a series of shots fired on Friday night.

Reports suggested the incident involved PNG armed forces personnel firing shots into the detention centre after a fight between locals and asylum seekers housed at the facility broke out about 6:30pm local time.

The Human Rights Law Centre spokesman Daniel Webb told the Western Australian that "enough is enough" and that the government should be safely moving detainees to Australia.

"Most of these men were found to be refugees years ago," he said.

"Last night's attack has again left them terrified and - after four years of fear, violence and limbo - they are completely exhausted."

The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, a group that represents several Christian church leaders, is also urging the government to evacuate the camp.

The group issued a statement on Saturday, asking authorities to "act with compassion" in the aftermath of the altercation.

"For the latest outbreak of violence to occur on Good Friday, an important part of the Christian calendar, there can be no ignoring the synergy of suffering," the statement said.

Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann called for a probe into the incident.

"The Turnbull Government must be upfront about what has happened overnight on Manus Island," Neumann said in a statement on Saturday.

"Labor supports a full investigation into how this incident began, who is responsible and how authorities responded.

"People who seek asylum have a right to have their claims processed in a safe and timely way."

Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian-born journalist and asylum seeker held on Manus Island, tweeted from the compound as the situation developed late on Friday.

Boochani told The Huffington Post Australia on Saturday that "three refugees and some Australian officers have been injured seriously".

"A refugee from Sudan has been injured in his head and another Sudanese man injured in his chest. A Pakistani refugee has been injured in his stomach and is urinating blood," he said.

"Also some Australian officers have been injured seriously and did not come to work today. All of these injuries were caused by stones thrown by local people and not because of gun shots."

One asylum seeker has so far been confirmed as injured in the incident.

Boochani said the PNG navy had fired on the facility after a fight between locals and asylum seekers erupted in the area.

"The Navy started shooting and all of the locals, officers and refugees ran away. The Navy shot about 100 times and some of their bullets hit and entered ... rooms."

HuffPost Australia has not verified Boochani's claims. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been sought for comment.

Late on Friday night, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection issued a statement which read: "There are reports PNG military personnel discharged a weapon into the air during the incident. No-one was injured".

The Department said PNG authorities are investigating the incident.

Manus MP Ron Knight said the fight started when a defence officer was assaulted by refugees.

Boochani earlier told HuffPost Australia that after a fight broke out on the soccer field, members of the Navy and locals had followed the refugees back to the centre.

"This evening some of the refugees and local people fought each other near the soccer ground. The PNG Navy started firing shots and all of the refugees came back to the centre to their rooms and tents," he wrote in a text message.

Papua New Guinea police have responded to the violence.

"We have police on the ground and they are trying to contain the situation," Provincial Police Commander David Yapu said according to the ABC.

"There is a situation at the centre but I am still waiting for a report."

Rohingya refugee Imran Mohammad said Australian guards had been beaten by members of the PNG Navy and local community during the attack.

Iranian refugee Amir Raghinia spoke to the ABC from a bus being driven through the complex.

"It's crazy, many people are in shock," he said.

"The Navy is shooting people.

"The staff were running out of the compound like crazy, I think they were getting on a ship."

Our camp is under attack. The Navy officers are firing. I am hiding in my room.Imran Mohammad told Fairfax Media

The Manus Island detention centre is due to close on October 31.

More On This Topic