Shots were fired last week at the Manus Island detention centre.
Shots were fired last week at the Manus Island detention centre. Stephen Lloyd

Assault claims rejected after Manus violence

A SENIOR Papua New Guinea police officer has rejected claims by Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that last week's violent incident at the Manus Island detention centre was allegedly sparked by asylum seekers leading a five-year-old local boy into the centre.

Mr Dutton suggested on Sky News that Manus residents feared the boy had been sexually assaulted and were also angry about another alleged sexual assault.

"There was a lot of angst around that within the local PNG community,” he said.

"I think it's fair to say the mood had elevated quite quickly.”

PNG soldiers subsequently fired shots into the centre.

Manus province police commander David Yapu told the ABC that Mr Dutton was referring to an unrelated incident in which there was no allegation of sexual assault and no concerns for the boy's safety.

A 10-year-old boy was brought into the centre, he said, to be given food days before the attack by the soldiers.

"He was given some fruits by the residents in the centre and then he was taken out again,” Mr Yapu told the ABC.

"If there was a sexual assault, a formal complaint would be made by the parents for the police to pursue investigations.”

Mr Dutton's version of events is at odds with that of the PNG Police and the PNG Defence Force, which have both said the attack on the centre was sparked by a dispute about the use of the naval base football field.



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