Manus Detainees Briefly Take Control Of Center After Death Of Refugee

Advocate says Sudanese man allegedly complained about ill-health for months before seizure

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 25, 2016) – Asylum seekers inside the Manus Island detention centre briefly took control of two compounds and expelled guards after the death of a Sudanese refugee who fell ill at the centre, Papua New Guinea police say.

Senior Sergeant Thomas Lelepo, who is stationed on Manus Island, said guards at the regional processing centre were forced out of the facility last night.

"There was a situation there ... over the death of a resident," he said.

Sergeant Lelepo said order had since been restored inside the detention centre.

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, 27, collapsed in the Oscar compound at the Manus detention centre on Thursday.

He was evacuated to Brisbane for urgent treatment on Friday, but died in hospital on Christmas Eve.

A Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesperson said Mr Ahmed had suffered a seizure.

Mr Ahmed's death had been referred to the Queensland coroner, but there were no suspicious circumstances, the spokesperson said.

However, detainees and the Refugee Action Coalition claimed the man was seriously ill for months and had made repeated requests for medical assistance before the emergency.

[PIR editor's note: On December 26, 2016 Radio Australia reported that 'Australia must build and staff a hospital on Manus Island to prevent refugees from dying in the future, the Papua New Guinea politician who represents the island says. ... The processing centre on the island houses close to 900 refugees and the local MP Ronnie Knight said the situation there was increasingly tense.'"We really find it hard to believe that this is going on in this day and age in this country," he said.]

The department also confirmed an incident had occurred overnight inside the Manus detention centre.

"The department is aware of a disturbance involving a group of residents in the mess area of Manus RPC," the spokesperson said. 

"The disturbance has now been resolved. There is minor property damage and no reported injuries."

Photos posted to Facebook by Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani, who is among the asylum seekers held on Manus Island, showed what appeared to be damage to a mess area inside one of the compounds.

"We just kicked out the Wilson security from Delta and Oscar detentions. This message is for the Government," Mr Boochani wrote.

"This system is designed to kill us one by one."

Another Manus detainee, Abdul Aziz Adam, 24, said Mr Ahmed had sought medical treatment from the clinic, run by International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), every few days for several months for various ailments including stomach upsets, high blood pressure, fevers and heart problems.

"[Mr Ahmed] said 'I don't get to see the doctor, I always see the nurse and then the nurse tells me 'you don't have anything', but I feel I have a problem'," he said.

"I can't hold my tears because how does this happen? Two days ago I spoke with him on the phone, now he end up dead.

"This system is designed to kill us one by one."

Mr Adam said he and about 60 asylum seekers signed a letter addressed to IHMS demanding better medical treatment for Mr Ahmed after he returned from the clinic earlier this month looking particularly crestfallen.

Radio Australia
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