News National Manus Island ‘a tinderbox’ according to evidence
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Manus Island ‘a tinderbox’ according to evidence

G Camp on Manus Island
A Senate Inquiry is hearing evidence about conditions at the Manus Island detention centre
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Footage obtained by Fairfax Media has shown Papua New Guinean nationals employed as security guards on Manus Island attacking asylum seekers at the detention centre more than 24 hours before Iranian Reza Berati died.

Asylum seekers had absconded after being told they had no prospect of being settled outside PNG. Footage obtained by Fairfax then showed the security guards attacking these asylum seekers in a night of shocking violence.

The footage shows that the scene of the violence was not isolated or roped off, leading to evidence being cleared away or compromised according to Fairfax.

A former guard at Australia’s asylum seeker detention centre in Papua New Guinea has told a Senate Inquiry that the camp was a tinderbox ready to ignite.

The inquiry is investigating events at Manus Island in January, which led to clashes that killed Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati and injured dozens of others.

Paul Skillen, who was employed by security firm G4S until March, says he was in charge of an incident response team made up of local PNG staff. In emails between him and other G4S staff last November, Mr Skillen says the team’s training was inadequate and tensions were rising.

Mr Skillen feared the team working at the detention centre was inadequately trained to deal with the unrest.

Mr Skillen said that if a death were to happen at the centre, there would be “a high risk of cross-contamination of evidence and scene tampering, and that they would all be hauled before a PNG coroner.”