25 Dec 2016

Asylum seekers take control of Manus Island compounds

1:27 pm on 25 December 2016

Asylum-seekers in Papua New Guinea's Manus Island are reported to have briefly expelled all security guards from two compounds in the Lombrum detention centre.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island were protesting earlier this year. Photo: Supplied

The detainees were reacting to the death of a 27-year-old Sudanese refugee, Ishak Ahmed, who collapsed at the Australian-run centre this week.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection said Mr Ishak Ahmed was flown to Australia for urgent medical treatment on Friday but died from injuries after a fall.

One asylum-seeker, Behrouz Boochani, told RNZ all Australian and Papua New Guinean staff had been driven out of the Oscar and Delta compounds by non-violent intimidation.

He said the guards now outside the gates had asked the refugees to negotiate with immigration and medical staff.

Mr Boochani said Mr Ahmed fainted many times in the past six months, and more than 60 of the 900 detainees had written to complain about his lack of medical care.

He said the company contracted to provide healthcare to the detainees, International Health and Medical Services, had ignored the basic values and dignities it had to apply as a health provider.

A spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, said Mr Ahmed had been in poor health for some time.

"He has been blacking out up to several times a week in the past few weeks," Mr Rintoul said.

"He's not been able to get any particular treatment."

An Australian immigration department spokesperson said control of the compounds had been retaken by Australian authorities.

"The Department is aware of a disturbance involving a group of residents in the mess area of Manus RPC," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"The disturbance has now been resolved. There is minor property damage and no reported injuries."

- RNZ / Reuters

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