Corroborating all accounts from Tara Moss’ contact from earlier today, ABC’s 7:30 has reported an eye witness account of the Manus Island bloodshed. Compounding this injustice, the information comes after the ABC today revealed that former Sri Lankan military officer, Dinesh Perera is the operations manager of Manus Island detention centre.
The witness has told 7:30 that guards freely allowed locals armed with makeshift weapons into the centre where they viciously attacked asylum seekers.
Coming as no surprise, 7:30’s Liam Cochrane explains that the G4S guards do not let any media near the facility, as was previously exemplified by the reported removal of a SMH journalists’ camera and phone. The ABC was also threatened with arrest by local police in an attempt to prompt them to delete footage.
Cochrane further explains that that night there were “expatriate G4S guards, mostly Australian” in attendance and that “there were also Papua New Guinean G4S guards, some in uniform, some out of uniform, and some in riot gear, known as the IRT, or Incident Response Team. PNG’s mobile squad were the only ones with guns and a crowd of locals gathered to watch a standoff that continued for several hours.”
What then followed were chilling words from 7:30’s witness: “The police fired warning shots and that scared the clients and they went into their rooms, so that’s when the G4S went in. And when the G4S get into the camp, they belt, they fight with the clients and belt them very badly and same are wounded, blood run over their face.”
Most damning was the certainty with which the witness describes the account. After being questioned about whether he is sure if it was locals who entered or not, this person explains that, “Yeah, of course. They’re some locals. Because the locals came to see what’s happening. They’re on the road and see what’s happening, so when the fence, the gates just – the G4S guards just break down the fence. They told everybody to go in and stop them and hit them and fight them, so that’s when the locals get in.”
Cochrane asks if it is true that the G4S guards allowed the locals inside. The witness answers again with absolute certainty, “Yeah. Because the G4S guards want manpower to help them, so they took them inside, the locals helped them.”
It is a tale of a nightmare worse than you or I could imagine. 7:30 reports that asylum seekers hiding from the violence were dragged out and brutally assaulted and the witness corroborates by explaining the hatred the guards showed for these innocent detainees, “When they get in they are so angry, they like they are in a war or something, they are not happy, their faces are so serious. They go in and belt the clients up.”
Angry and violent G4S guards took turns assaulting their cowering victims, seemingly taking pleasure in their task.
As for Reza Berati, the 23-year-old Iranian man who lost his life in the attacks, he was reportedly “hit with lengths of wood, with metal poles taken from beds and had his head or neck stomped”.
We will not rest until Manus is shut down permanently. We will continue to fight for these innocent detainees who are living in fear every single day as a result of our own heinous system.
Read the entire transcript on ABC’s website here.
Thank you to Tara Moss for bringing this further information to my attention:
“The information in this breaking ABC report (below) is consistent with the information given to me by my anonymous contact at Manus Island. Expat G4S guards appear to have tried to calm the situation, while PNG G4S allegedly fired shots in the compound and fought and assaulted asylum seekers along with a number of PNG locals who reportedly entered the area with makeshift weapons to attack the people in the compound:
‘The expatriate guards reportedly stayed out of the violence for the most part, trying to calm the situation and overseeing operations.’
‘Some of the asylum seekers who tried to escape the violence by hiding in a gym were dragged out and brought brutally assaulted.’