Papua New Guinea police have still not received any complaint or report about a young boy in relation to the Good Friday shooting targeting Manus Island asylum seekers, casting further doubt on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's version of events.
Senior inspector David Yapu told HuffPost Australia that officers were close to pressing charges over the shooting, which will likely include PNG navy officers as well as at least one asylum seeker.
More than 100 bullets were sprayed into the regional processing centre on Manus Island by "drunken" navy officers on April 14. Several people were wounded in the incident. While PNG police and military had blamed the incident on a dispute about a soccer oval, Dutton aired previously unheard allegations relating to a young boy when he finally broke his silence a week later.
However, PNG police claimed at the time that Dutton had gotten key details wrong. They confirmed a young local boy had approached the centre occurred around a week before the shooting; that the boy had approached the centre asking for food, and was not "led" there; that there was no claims of any sexual abuse, and that the boy's parents had made no formal complaint to police; that the boy was 10 years old, not five; and that police were not investigating any link between this incident and the shooting.
"I was informed a 10-year-old boy went to the centre and was given fruit," said senior inspector Yapu in April.
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]... It is not related. There is no link at all."
Yapu told HuffPost Australia on Friday that police had still received no report at all in relation to the alleged incident, and that no member of the boy's family had yet filed any formal complaint.
"The incident on Good Friday is still being investigated," he said.
"Hopefully by next week we'll start to lay charges. The [asylum seeker] who assaulted the navy officer that was on duty at the time on the field."
Yapu said "certainly" some navy officers may also be charged.
Regarding the young boy, he said there was "no report" for the police to investigate.
"There has been no complaint made to the police but we're still waiting. The parents of the child have not come to the police to lay a complaint," Yapu said.
"They have to come to the police to lay the complaint. We're just waiting for them."
"There's no report for us to investigate."
Also on Friday, ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy reported a PNG whistleblower had said that Dutton's version of events was incorrect.
Dutton has maintained his version of events in follow-up interviews (here and here), while journalist Andrew Bolt claimed that CCTV footage and reports from staff at the centre back up the minister's claims.
Dutton's office has not responded to requests from HuffPost Australia for access to the CCTV footage or the incident reports.
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