UK

Asylum Seeker Killed In Australian Detention Camp On Papua New Guinea

18/02/2014 11:24 GMT | Updated 18/02/2014 11:59 GMT

A man has been killed during a bid for freedom at an Australian detention camp on Manus Island, with dozens injured after Papua New Guinea police opened fire.

Security at the compound is run by G4S, which the website New Matilda reported had to pull out of the compound and call in the Papua New Guinea police.

The man died of head injuries on the way to hospital, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Thirteen other received gunshot wounds, and 77 in total were injured in the chaos, with two requiring transfer to Australia for urgent medical treatment.

Morrison said violence flared after the asylum seekers, whose claims were being processed in the offshore camp in Papua New Guinea, broke free of the detention centre.

"This was a very dangerous situation where people decided to protest in a very violent way and to take themselves outside the centre and place themselves at great risk," Morrison said, adding that the security responsibility for the area outside the camp was Papua New Guinea's responsibility.

"Those who are maintaining the safety of environment outside the centre need to use their powers and various accoutrements that they have available to them to restore order in the way that is provided for under PNG law," he said, according to the BBC.

"PNG police did not enter the centre and that their activities related only to dealing with transferees who breached the external perimeter."

The scheme of off-shore detention camps was begun under the previous Labor government, reintroducing processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

He called the death of the man "a great tragedy" that will "be the subject of an investigation".

A local source in the camp told NM: "There are many injured people, more than 50. Two of them they have really big injury at the neck and they in a very bad situation.”

The detainee said that many Australian G4S employees had also been injured on Sunday night.

“The Australian G4S tell us if there’s locals come to fight to with us, we are able to save ourselves, but without escaping out of the compound,” he said. “G4S Australia are good people but they are also very scared in this situation.

“Local people came now to the compound, they have weapons, they want to make fight with us, threaten they will come at the night-time,” he said.

Greens Party spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said in a statement: "The reports that one person has died, that shots have been fired, that scores of individuals have been injured, shows that it is untenable to keep the Manus Island detention camp open."