Police in Papua New Guinea said that refugees held inside a detention center on Manus Island started rioting and briefly took control of the Australian-run facility Saturday night in response to the death of a Sudanese man held at the center.
Senior Sergeant Thomas Lelepo, said that guards were forced out of the Manus Island detention center. Staff at the center were driven out of two compounds in the facility through a strategy of nonviolent intimidation, detainee Behrouz Buchanan told Radio New Zealand.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which runs the offshore processing center said that the compounds had then be retaken by authorities and there was minor property damage with no reports of injuries.
Faysal Ishak Ahmed, a 27-year-old Sudanese refugee who was applying for asylum, collapsed after falling ill on Thursday and was then transported to hospital in Brisbane, Australia, to be treated, but died on in the hospital on Saturday night.
The immigration department said that Ahmed had had a seizure, and had been referred to an Australian state coroner, but there were no suspicious circumstance surrounding his death.
However, other detainees along with Refugee Action Coalition claim that Ahmed had been sick well before he was taken to hospital, with more than sixty detainees had asked authorities complain about a lack of medical care for Ahmed after he had reportedly been fainting over the last six months.
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Fellow detainee Abdul Aziz Adam, told ABC Australia that Ahmed had sought medical treatment from the clinic, run by the International Health and Medical Services, only to be turned away, told that he was faking his illnesses.
Refugee Action Coalition criticized Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the country’s harsh brutal policy of refugees and offshore detention as well as the mainstream media for their coverage of the incident.
Under Australia’s tough “sovereign borders policy” 872 refugees are held on Manus Island. The policy, which intercepts refugee boats at sea and places them sends to the offshore camps for protesting has through a number of administrations been condemned locally and internationally for breaching human rights.
The center at Manus Island, still operates despite both the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments announcing in August that it would be shut down. In 2014, Reza Berati a 23-year-old Iranian was killed in the Manus Island camp during rioting, two staff that were working at the center centering the incident were later charged and sentenced with murder.