HUNDREDS of inmates have gone on hunger strike at the Manus detention centre. Some have attempted self-harm by sewing their lips together and swallowing detergent and razor blades.
At first the Australian government denied there were any such problems, but repeated reports have confirmed that the situation is extremely serious and the new minister Peter Dutton is “looking into the matter.”
Another riot seems imminent.
The Papua New Guinea government has just issued a statement denying that local police stormed the Manus Island detention centre.
Fairfax Media reports that it was the emergency response team from Wilson Security who are sub-contractors to the Australian government.
As the number of asylum seekers staging a hunger strike grows to over 500 and water has been cut off in parts of the facility, inmates are being forced to drink from drains.
It is believed a number of asylum seekers have barricaded themselves inside their compounds as part of the protest.
PNG's Immigration Minister, Rimbink Pato calls the refugee advocates “agitator groups” which doesn't seem calculated to calm things down. Refugee advocates have called for United Nations intervention.
Reports state that a number of protesting asylum seekers were taken to the Chauka compound over the weekend (think ‘the cooler’ in The Great Escape), which is a smaller compound used to discipline asylum seekers acting aggressively.
Inmates also claimed to have received death threats against those seeking to move to a half-way house in Lorengau.
* The American Heritage Dictionary defines the term "concentration camp" as "a camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as suspect" . That's Manus - KJ