One dead after more violence at detention centre

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo / AAP
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo / AAP

An asylum seeker has died after more violence and break-outs at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the death at the Australian-run facility at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

"The news of a death is a great tragedy," Mr Morrison told reporters.

"Our sympathies are extended to the transferees - that person's family and friends who would have been in the facility as well.

"This is a tragedy but this was a very dangerous situation where people decide to protest in a very violent way and to take themselves outside the centre and place themselves at great risk."

An asylum seeker arriving on Manus Island. Photo / AAP
An asylum seeker arriving on Manus Island. Photo / AAP

Mr Morrison said 77 people had received treatment since early Tuesday morning, and 40 of them had been discharged from hospital.

Twenty-two had minor injuries and 13 had serious injuries.

One person had been evacuated to Australia for treatment for a skull fracture.

Another person who had been shot in the buttock was also due to be flown to Australia for treatment.

Mr Morrison said it was a "distressing situation".

But the government had taken steps in recent weeks to increase security at the facility, having learned from similar violent incidents at detention sites on Nauru.

"On this occasion, the centre has not been destroyed, the centre will be able to resume operations," he said.

The asylum seeker who died on the way to hospital had a head injury.

That death and most of the serious injuries happened outside the centre.

Mr Morrison said the suggestion that PNG police had entered the facility was incorrect and security contractor G4S would release a statement about that.

"There are all sorts of rumours that are put around in this environment," he said.

"We don't know what occurred outside the centre and that obviously will be the subject of an investigation into that person's death."

Mr Morrison said there had been a rolling series of protests, starting a few weeks ago, with largely peaceful demonstrations culminating in the violence of the last two nights.

"They will have frustrations about being in a centre they don't wish to be in because they wanted a very different outcome than being in either Manus Island or Nauru," he said.

"There will be those who will seek to take down our policies, to take down our processing centres, to try and destroy the regime we have put in place."

The minister said the government's resolve in sticking to its border protection policies was "absolute".

He said hundreds of asylum seekers died at sea before the Abbott government came into power.

"The government's resolve when it comes to our policies is very clear and that resolve won't break," he said.

The Australian government has warned asylum seekers who attempt to reach Australia by boat that they will never make it to their destination. They are intercepted at sea and sent to detention camps at Manus Island or the tiny Pacific atoll nation of Nauru.

The hard line policy appears to be working, with no asylum seeker boat reaching an Australian shore by boat since December 18 last year.


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