May 29, 2014
Asylum seekers on one of their first excursions out of the Manus Island detention centre since February’s violence had an altercation with locals, who refugee advocates say brandished machetes.
It was alleged that 10 locals ambushed a group of asylum seekers with machetes as they returned from an excursion.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the incident, saying it was a ”low-level non-physical exchange between a transferee and a local resident during the course of an excursion yesterday”.
”Overdramatising these events is not helpful in the ongoing management of the Manus Island centre,” the spokesman said.
Tensions remain four months after asylum seeker Reza Barati was killed, while locally employed security guards are being kept out of the centre for fear of retaliation.
Human rights advocates say the latest incident is further proof of the danger asylum seekers face if resettled in PNG.
Following the release this week of the government’s report into the violence, Mr Barati’s father, Torabi, wrote to the Australian people asking for his son’s murderers to be brought to justice, saying: ”He was innocent and did not commit any crime and his murderers are free.”