Asylum seekers on Manus Island have breached a perimeter fence for the second time in a week, forcing staff to be evacuated, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says.
A number of detainees were left with serious injuries and the government was awaiting confirmation that none had escaped from the detention centre, Mr Morrison said in a statement on Tuesday.
Authorities have set up a command centre near the facility to deal with the breach, and Mr Morrison will fly to Canberra from Darwin with Operation Sovereign Borders commander Lieutenant General Angus Campbell to be briefed on the situation.
“The extent and nature of the subsequent events and perimeter breaches is still being verified,” the minister said.
“However, I am advised that all staff have been accounted for, our service providers are in control of the centre and there has been no damage to critical infrastructure or accommodation at the centre, which will enable the centre to resume normal operations.”
He had not been advised of any injuries to staff.
Non-essential staff were evacuated and transferees not involved in the break-out were taken to a nearby oval, while G4S addressed the situation in the centre.
The incident follows a similar one on Sunday which left 19 asylum seekers injured and eight on criminal charges after fences inside and outside the centre were breached.
Mr Morrison said PNG police did not enter the centre on Monday and their activities related only to dealing with transferees who breached the external perimeter.
“I am advised that G4S were able to protect critical infrastructure and take control of the facility within the centre without the use of batons,” he said.
In Canberra, Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said Australians needed to hear details of the incident.
“We’ve got Australians working on Manus Island, and of course we’re concerned about any asylum seekers or locals who might have been injured or in any way in danger,” she told ABC radio.