19 May 2014

Security firm warned Australia about PNG police at Manus

6:34 am on 19 May 2014

An Australian newspaper report says the Immigration Department was warned about Papua New Guinean police ahead of the deadly Manus Island riots in February.

At least one asylum-seeker was shot during the night of violence on February the 17th, in which an Iranian asylum-seeker was killed.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the security firm contracted to provide services at the Manus centre, G4S, wrote a letter two weeks beforehand, warning that PNG police were dangerously unpredictable and could start shooting in an emergency.

The firm reportedly pleaded with Immigration to defuse tensions in the camp by speeding up refugee assessments and talking to the asylum-seekers.

PNG police fired dozens of shots during the riots.

Locally employed G4S guards also partook in the violence.

The Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who instigated a Senate inquiry into the rioting, said the Australian government ''wilfully ignored the warning signs''.