PAPUAN REFUGEES HELD BY AUSTRALIANS IN PNG

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Radio Australia, Dec. 31) - Australia's immigration department says a group of refugees spent a night in military custody after a flare-up at the Manus Island processing center in Papua New Guinea.

The center is located within the grounds of the Lombrum Naval Base in the northern island province.

An immigration department spokesman says a group of 15 detainees, believed to be Papuan and seeking refuge in Australia, charged a gate and walked out of the center Monday night.

He says the refugees had been in dispute with officials, claiming information about resettlement was being withheld.

The spokesman says the group was detained by PNG defense force personnel and placed in military custody overnight.

The spokesman says all the detainees have been returned to the immigration facility, and he's not aware of any injuries sustained in the incident.

A spokesman for the immigration minister had earlier said a couple of refugees had suffered bruising in an incident where there was some pushing and shoving.

December 31, 2002

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia. 

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