Papua New Guinea police have charged two men over the murder of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati on Manus Island and are looking for three more suspects.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief of Operations Jim Andrews said Joshua Kaluvia was arrested on Monday in Kimbe, the capital of West New Britain.
Another man, 28-year-old Manus Island resident Louie Efi, was arrested in July.
“These two suspects will shed more light on the violence and killing and hopefully assist in the arrest of more suspects involved in the February violence and death,” Mr Andrews said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said police are still looking for one Papua New Guinean and two expatriates.
While the nationality of the expatriates was not known, most foreigners on Manus at the time were Australian.
It’s believed Efi worked for G4S, the company that managed security at the detention centre at the time of Mr Barati’s death, while Kaluvia worked in an unspecified role for the Salvation Army.
The 23-year-old died from severe head trauma during a riot inside the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island in February.
Mr Andrews said the police intelligence network showed that Kaluvia had fled from Manus to PNG’s second largest city, Lae, before travelling throughout the highland provinces of Chimbu and Mount Hagen before going across to Kimbe.
Police say arrangements are now being made for the suspect to be transferred to Port Moresby as investigations into the Barati killing continues.
G4S says it has not been contacted by police about the arrests.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said he was aware of reports of the arrest of the two men, although that had not been formally confirmed by the PNG government.
“I do welcome those reports and that news. We have been working very closely with the PNG government and those authorities and we have made sure that we were doing everything at our end to assist,” he told Sky News.
Mr Morrison said the justice process would now have to follow.
“We have confidence in that as we said we had confidence in the PNG police to go and do the job,” he said.
An independent review by former secretary of the Attorney-General’s department, Robert Cornwall, was told a PNG employee of the Salvation Army had led the brutal bashing of Mr Barati.
But PNG Police announced in May they believed two PNG workers and two expats were responsible for Mr Barati’s death.