Friday, Mar 27, 2015Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Breakout at Australian immigration centre on Papua New Guinea

Published on Feb 17, 2014 1:45 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Thirty-five asylum-seekers broke out of an Australian immigration detention on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and several were injured, officials said on Monday, as tensions mount about their fate under hardline policies.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the group escaped on Sunday evening but were quickly rounded up by private security contractors at the facility, one of two remote Pacific camps used in Canberra's punitive off-shore detention policy.

Under the scheme, aimed at deterring people-smugglers, any asylum-seeker arriving by boat or intercepted at sea is transferred to Manus or Nauru for processing and permanent resettlement outside Australia.

Mr Morrison said power poles and fences were toppled during the fracas, and bunk beds smashed to fashion makeshift weapons, but no buildings were destroyed.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!