The violent clash that led to the death of an asylum seeker in Manus Island detention centre was inevitable, a guard says.
Former guard Steve Kilburn said he knew within a week of arriving that there would be bloodshed.
He was proved correct.
Over two nights in February, tensions boiled over at the centre after Manus Island managers allegedly told the asylum seekers they would all be resettled in Papua New Guinea and would not be transferred to Australia.
The ABC’s Four Corners program said hundreds of men from different ethnic groups were crammed into basic accommodation, facing an uncertain future and living close to PNG nationals.
Steve Kilburn, also a former Queensland Labor state politician, said he anticipated violence within a week of arriving on Manus Island.
“I made comments to my wife and people that I know that there is only one possible outcome here and that is bloodshed,” he said.
The violent clash on February 16 at the Manus Island detention centre occurred after the announcement about asylum seeker resettlement.
According to Mr Kilburn, a group of asylum seekers ran out the front gates where they were beaten by guards.
Others inside responded with rocks.
The disturbance was quelled by the Incident Response Team, a riot squad comprising foreign and PNG employees of centre management firm G4S, according to the ninemsn.
The ABC said the violence erupted again the following night with a group of asylum seekers chanting derogatory words about PNG.
As the rioting escalated, G4S handed over to PNG police who entered the compound firing shotguns and automatic weapons in the air, according to other guards who were not named in the news report.
The violence led to 62 asylum seekers injured, with 23-year-old Iranian Kurd Reza Barati beaten to death in an accommodation block.
No one has been charged with his murder.
However, according to ABC, asylum seekers and some guards blame the PNG locals for the violence.
Mr Kilburn said it could have been much worse.
“We couldn’t guarantee the safety of those people and we can still can,” he said.
Refugee activists protested outside the Star Event Centre in Sydney where Prime Minister Tony Abbott was speaking on Monday night, demanding that Manus and Nauru be closed, according to ninemsn.