19 Feb 2014

PNG police say locals were not involved in attacks on asylum seekers

8:30 am on 19 February 2014

The Papua New Guinea police say it has not had any reports of Manus island locals being involved in attacks on asylum seekers in Canberra's off-shore processing camp.

One asylum seeker is dead following two nights of rioting and escapes from the Manus camp, 13 suffered serious injuries, including one flown to Australia in a critical condition, and 22 suffered minor injuries.

The Refugee Action Coalition says the asylum seekers were being attacked by PNG police officers and locals on Monday night, and they were escaping the camp to flee for their lives.

But the PNG deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba, says police have always remained outside of the perimeters of the camp, and were only involved in returning eight detainees who had jumped the fence.

He says he can't say yet whether or not police injured any of the escapees but says it is unlikely locals were involved as police officers would have stopped them.

"For the local villagers to get involved, it's quite remote, because they would totally be refused, not be allowed at any cost to the processing centre."

The PNG deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba.