18 Feb 2014

Asylum-seeker advocate scotches Australian comments on PNG attack

10:11 am on 18 February 2014

An advocate for Australia's asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says it's still unclear how many have escaped after two nights of attacks by locals and police.

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition says more than 50 detainees were gravely hurt with deep cuts by machetes.

He says after a failed meeting on Sunday about resettlement processing, a riot broke out and eventually the facility staff and guards were removed.

The Australian immigration minister, Scott Morrison, says service providers are in control of the centre after transferees climbed fences.

But Mr Rintoul says the reality is far different.

"Scores of people have been injured, quite seriously, with machete cuts, deep machete cuts, and bashings. There's reports of one person having been thrown from the first floor of a building and 50 people, according to one of the people we spoke to, 50 people in one of the compounds alone, had been injured."

Ian Rintoul