3 Sep 2018

Police deployed to Australian detention centre after fire

5:49 pm on 3 September 2018

A detainee inside Australia's Yongah Hill Detention Centre said he is scared there will be further riots with significant consequences.

Police were deployed to the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre in West Australia.

Police were deployed to the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre in West Australia. Photo: Google Maps

Riots and fires broke out at the West Australian detention centre amid rising tensions after a detainee who self-harmed was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The disturbance came after an inmate, described by the Refugee Action Coalition as a 22-year-old Iraqi man, was reportedly found in his cell with serious injuries following an apparent suicide attempt.

He was flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth last night and transferred to Royal Perth Hospital, but the Australian Border Force (ABF) declined to reveal any more details about his condition.

More than 20 firefighters joined police at the centre after the riot broke out.

The fire has since been extinguished and there were no reported injuries to staff or detainees from the disturbance.

Ali Yousus is from Iraq and has been held at the Yongah Hill Detention Centre for just over a year.

He hid in a room with other detainees during the riot, he said.

"We ended up [having] seven people in one room hiding, so we can help each other and stick together so we don't get hit or punched or get burned inside your room by yourself or getting jumped because you're by yourself.

"We [were] hiding in the room and we were just watching it from the window, everything lit up in front of us and we couldn't do nothing."

There had been talk of further riots but he was unsure how successful they would be as security had been tightened up, Mr Yousus said.

"Probably later on, next hour or two, they are going to get more staff here in the centre...to get some control, not like last night.

"In the whole compound against the 300 detainees, in the whole compound there were three officers. What are they going to do? Three officers against 300 detainees."

Filipa Payne, from detainee advocacy group Iwi N Aus, said: "A group of friends of the gentleman were very upset by the situation and it kind of escalated and escalated to the point now that the whole detention centre is on fire."

An Australian Border Force spokesperson said the detainee was taken to hospital and was receiving appropriate medical treatment.

In a statement, the force said all detainees and staff were accounted for and safe and there had been no reported injuries.

They said violent and aggressive behaviour within the centres would not be tolerated and steps were in place to 'stamp out' such activity.


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