Immigration minister Peter Dutton has defended his comments that concerns for the safety of a young boy were related to shootings at the Manus Island detention centre, despite conflicting reports from Papua New Guinea police.
Dutton said that a five-year-old boy was led away by three asylum seekers, causing the mood to shift and soldiers to fire bullets into the centre, claiming they and locals were concerned the boy was sexually assaulted.
The Papua New Guinea police say the shootings were not related to the boy, who is in-fact ten-years old. Speaking to The Huffington Post, PNG Police said the boy was not "led away" and he had approached the centre for food one week before the shooting.
"Wilson Security intervened and took the child from the centre. Any claim of sexual abuse, there should be a formal complaint. Nothing has been reported to police. There is no connection to the latest incident [the Good Friday shooting]," said senior inspector David Yapu.
"It is not related. There is no link at all."
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Yapu said the incident had been sparked by a fight during a soccer match between asylum seekers and navy personnel.
In a heated exchange with Barrie Cassidy on ABC's Insiders, Dutton said he had received "different advice" than the version presented by the police and would not accept that he had got the wrong information.
"The briefing I've had in particularly was succinct and clear," he said on Insiders.
When Cassidy asked Dutton who gave him the information, the Immigration Minister said he had been in contact with "senior people on the island" and the governor.
Cassidy: "But you didn't speak with the police commander, clearly?"
Dutton: "I can give you the facts or you can take the Twitter version."
"If you're asking me why the mood elevated, these two incidents fed into it and I have that on very good authority on the island."
"I think that there are facts that I have that you don't, so why don't we let the police investigation run its course and allow then some independent analysis of it."'
Dutton said two people have been accused of sexual assault, but the matter is in the hands of PNG police. When asked to confirm if they deny the chargers, Dutton said "As you would imagine...So let is go to court."
Cassidy: "You're an ex-Queensland policeman. You know that you're presumed innocent don't you?"
Dutton: "Of course, but you're going to the mood on the ground which is not something you need to prove beyond reasonable doubt in court."
Asylum seekers at the centre said the boy was begging for food and are urging the Australian Government to released CCTV footage from cameras at the centre. They say one refugee asked the boy to stay at the door while they prepared food in plastic bags.
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