Immigration

PNG police dismiss Dutton's explanation of Manus Island unrest

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has claimed the violence on Manus Island was triggered by concerns for a local boy.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has claimed the violence on Manus Island was triggered by concerns for a local boy. Source: AAP

Peter Dutton's claims that concerns about the welfare of a local boy triggered the Good Friday shooting at Manus Island have been rejected by PNG police.

A senior PNG police officer has disputed Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s claim that concerns about the welfare of a local boy led PNG soldiers to storm the Manus Island detention centre.

Mr Dutton \alleged the violent incident – which left one asylum seeker injured on Good Friday – began after three asylum seekers were spotted leading a five-year-old boy into the camp.

The immigration minister suggested Manus Island residents were worried that the boy had been sexually assaulted.

But local police commander Inspector David Yapu has rejected the claims, telling ABC News Mr Dutton was referring to an unrelated incident which involved no allegation of sexual assault.

"If there was a sexual assault, a formal complaint would be made by the parents for the police to pursue investigations," Mr Yapu told ABC News.

Mr Yapu clarified that a 10-year-old boy was brought into the centre to receive food in the days prior to the attack, but that there was no suggestion he was harmed.

"He was given some fruits by the residents in the centre and then he was taken out again," he said.

"So there was nothing done to him and also there was no official complaint by the parents of that small boy."

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Mr Dutton said the incident may have been caused by a local boy being led to the camp.

“I think there was concern about why the boy was being led, or for what purpose he was being led, away back into the regional processing centre."

Watch: Dutton weighs in on Manus Island shooting

Mr Dutton's comments were immediately rejected by Manus island asylum seeker and journalist Behrouz Boochani.