Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > G4s staff accused of attacking inmates at Papua New Guinea detention centre

G4s staff accused of attacking inmates at Papua New Guinea detention centre

February 21, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Guards hired by scandal-prone British firm accused of using iron bars and rocks during riot at Australian offshore immigration detention centre

People hold banners and chant slogans as they protest outside the Immigration Deprtment building in Brisbane, Australia Photo: EPA

People hold banners and chant slogans as they protest outside the Immigration Deprtment building in Brisbane, Australia Photo: EPA

Jonathan Pearlman | Daily Telegraph (UK)

Guards employed by scandal-hit British security firm G4S have been accused of using iron bars and rocks to attack detainees at Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

Though details of the riot remain sketchy, several witnesses have claimed that uniformed local G4S guards were behind the attacks, which left one detainee dead and 77 injured.

“They started beating them… some of them with sticks and some of them with all these hose, rubber hose and pipes,” an unnamed witness told ABC News.

“[The detainees] were trying to hide themselves… but the G4S went in, opened the room and pulled them out and [belted] all of them.”

The camp, on Manus Island, which holds about 1,300 asylum seekers, has been criticised as inhumane and unlawful by the United Nations and rights groups.

Local guards from G4S have told reporters they were outnumbered by hundreds of angry detainees who threw stones and shouted insults.

“They were swearing at us… so they start throwing stones and start pushing gates,” a guard told ABC News. “So what we do is we all G4S local nationals and expats we just rushed in to save our counterparts. So that’s where the trouble began and the fight started.”

Another said: “They were fighting, throwing things at us. So some of us were hit and we retaliated.”

G4S said its guards at the centre were not armed and that it was concerned about the allegations. It promised to support an official inquiry.

“Our personnel on duty during the disturbances acted with courage, strength and determination to protect those in our care,” the firm said.

Ashley Almanza , the head of G4S, the world’s largest security group, admitted late last year that it needed to “invest more in risk management” following a series scandals.

The firm, which operates in more than 125 countries worldwide, was heavily criticised for failing to hire enough security guards for the 2012 London Olympics. Its staff were also accused of torturing inmates at a South African prison.

The riots at Manus Island are being investigated by Papua New Guinea police, but the nation’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, insisted that police fired shots “to calm things down”.

Australia has reopened its two Pacific island detention centres in the past 18 months in an attempt to stem the flow of asylum seekers arriving by boat from south-east Asia. Both centres have now been the scenes of violent riots. Australia’s Green Party has said that the Manus Island centre should be closed to prevent further “horror”.

Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has also ordered an investigation into the G4S incident but said he would not succumb to “moral blackmail” to close down the centre.

“We will ensure these camps are run fairly, if necessary firmly,” he said.


Read about other G4S scandals on PNG Exposed:

  1. kanex Kanarepa
    February 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    What do you do to defend yourself against the worst terrorists in this world?? If i was attacked, I would break one of their coconuts in self defence to show them that I am no easy meat too!!! End of story!

  2. pkay
    February 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Everyone that has any role or responsibility, like G4S, at the Manus dentition hell-hole is acting on political orders from the top of the Australian political hierarchy. If PM Tony Abbot, a devout Christian, and an former Catholic seminarian at that, has lost any sense of moral judgment and a duty of care under international convention on asylum seekers then Australia will stop at nothing but treat these people in Manus as less than humans. To Abbot’s Australia it makes no difference that the detainees are in PNG and come under PNG jurisdiction. We have been paid off and told to shut up and just think in terms of money for projects and accept some “collateral damage” on Manus for as long as the asylum prison is there.
    And it has already happened too – whether the Local Manusians are anywhere near the asylum centre or not, they will be implicated to bear some blame. May be there is some complicity by the Manusians because their 3 MPs put up very little opposition and just fell for the money.

  3. Allah
    March 3, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Who cares about them, belt the shit out of them. Show them PNG Brutality
    because they should not be in PNG
    in the first place. They want to rough it up then give it to them. If we were in their shoes in their country, they would probably shoot us for rioting.
    We should not be worrying about asylum seekers problems here, we have bigger problems to worry about in our own country. Good or bad they should remain calm and put up with whatever comes their way because they were illegally caught trespassing into another country. Also these people didnt aim for PNG, they wanted to go to Australia so why are we harboring them here against their will? Just to satisfy Australia ?
    Yumi Painim wok stret ya!

  4. November 11, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    How can a man protect himself? The G4 staff is employed for their security no matter what their doings. This is absurd and shouldn’t have happened.

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