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Asylum seekers injured in incident at PNG centre: Australia
February 17, 2014 / 10:20 PM / in 4 years

Asylum seekers injured in incident at PNG centre: Australia

Australia's Minister of Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison speaks at a news conference during his working visit to Malaysia, at the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency office in Putrajaya February 5, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Samsul Said

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A group of people seeking asylum in Australia rioted and breached fences at a Papua New Guinea processing centre, the second serious incident in two days, Australia’s immigration minister said on Tuesday.

An unspecified number of detainees were injured, some seriously, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

“The extent and nature of the subsequent events and perimeter breaches is still being verified,” he said.

Manus Island in impoverished Papua New Guinea hosts a detention center for would-be refugees sent there after trying to get to Australia, often in unsafe boats after paying people smugglers in Indonesia.

The incident followed an attempted breakout on Sunday night, when 35 asylum seekers briefly escaped, 19 were injured and eight arrested.

Morrison said security guards were in control of the center, which had not been damaged, and island police had caught detainees who had escaped during the incident.

There were no immediate details on the exact number of asylum seekers involved or the injuries and a spokesman for Morrison was not available for comment.

Canberra’s tough stance on asylum seekers, including offshore processing and a blanket ban on people arriving by boat ever settling in Australia, has been criticized by the United Nations and other groups as illegal and inhumane.

Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang;Editing by Tom Heneghan

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