22 Apr 2014

Former guard describes Manus as 'tinderbox ready to ignite'

4:04 am on 22 April 2014

A former guard at Australia's asylum seeker detention centre in Papua New Guinea has told a Senate Inquiry that the camp was a tinderbox ready to ignite.

The inquiry is investigating events at Manus Island in January, which led to clashes that killed Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati and injured dozens of others.

Jamie Tahana reports.

"Paul Skillen, who was employed by security firm G4S until March, says he was in change of an incident response team made up of local PNG staff. In emails disclosed between him and other G4S staff last November, Mr Skillen says the team's training was woefully inadequate and with rising tensions in the centre, he feared the team would not be up to the task of dealing with serious disorder. In another email following a suicide attempt on November the 27th, Mr Skillen called for basic scene preservation training after he had to use bin bags to collect evidence because proper tools were not available. He said that if a death were to happen at the centre, there would be a high risk of cross contamination of evidence and scene tampering, and that they would all be hauled before a PNG coroner."