Asylum seeker killed in violence at Australian detention centre

Tuesday 18 February 2014 21.19
Manus Island hosts a detention centre for would-be refugees sent there after trying to get to Australia
Manus Island hosts a detention centre for would-be refugees sent there after trying to get to Australia

An asylum seeker was killed and at least 77 injured in the second riot this week at an Australian immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

One person was in a critical condition with a head injury and another sustained gunshot wounds.

The clashes erupted after asylum seekers tried to force their way out of the centre on a small island in impoverished Papua New Guinea last night.

Manus Island hosts a detention centre for would-be refugees sent there after trying to get to Australia, often in unsafe boats after paying people smugglers in Indonesia.

"In the case of the one individual who is deceased, that is a tragic outcome which no one would welcome, and is one that we express our sincere regret and sympathy for," said Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

"If people choose to remove themselves from that centre then they're obviously putting themselves at a place of much greater risk.

"In an environment like that where there is violent behaviour on the part of those who are breaching the perimeter fence and going out of the centre, then this is a disorderly environment, in which there is always great risk," he added.

The incident followed an attempted breakout on Sunday night, when 35 asylum seekers briefly escaped, 19 were injured and eight arrested.

Australia's tough stance on asylum seekers, including offshore processing and a blanket ban on people arriving by boat ever settling in Australia, has been criticised by the United Nations and other groups as illegal and inhumane.