CANBERRA -- The Immigration Department has admitted “some force” was used to end a two day “major disturbance” and standoff with protesting detainees inside the Christmas Island detention centre.
The Department has confirmed "severe damage" to the centre, but declared all areas are now under the “full and effective control” of the department staff and centre managers, Serco.
The destructive unrest, which began on Sunday night in reaction to the death of an escaped Kurdish Iranian refugee, ended after a large group of specialist police reinforcements and Serco staff were flown onto on the island overnight.
The Department states that control of centre was achieved largely through negotiation and co-operation with detainees.
However, other unnamed methods were also used.
“Some force was used with a core group of detainees who had built barricades and actively resisted attempts to secure compounds, including threatened use of weapons and improvised weapons,” the Department said in a statement.
Five detainees have been injured or are suffering medical conditions.
“None of the matters are life-threatening,” it said.
“It is not known whether these injuries were sustained during the disturbance itself or during the resolution of the operation.”
The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and the Department have blamed the unrest on detainees facing deportation, under recently introduced laws targeting other nationals with criminal convictions.
These detainee, many from New Zealand have been accused of taking advantage of the death of the escaped Kurdish-Iranian detainee over the weekend.
The cause of his death is not known, but Dutton told Parliament on Monday there were "no suspicious circumstances."
The Department said some common areas of the Christmas Island centre appear to be severely damaged.
"Work to repair the centre will be undertaken as a priority," it said.
"The damage to Commonwealth property is the subject of investigation and identified offenders will be prosecuted."
It said the centre is calm with detainees secured in undamaged areas of the centre.