'Drunk' Locals Threaten Manus Island Asylum Seekers at New Accommodation

StoryfulNewsPublished: December 12, 2017
Published: December 12, 2017

Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island said locals arrived at their new accommodation on December 10 and threatened them with violence. Although media and aid groups have been prevented from entering the new accommodation, locals were filmed entering the supposedly secure compound at Hillside Haus and verbally abusing men at West Lorengau Haus. In the early hours of Sunday, four men reportedly approached the main gate of the West Haus accommodation where refugees from the former Australian-run Manus Island detention centre were forcibly relocated to. The video shows one man, who appears to be drunk, at West Haus brandishing what looks like a metal pipe and telling the asylum seekers through the gate “you’re dead meat” and “Mi bai killim yu”, which ABC reported is New Guinean pidgin for “I will kill you”. Security stopped the man from entering the compound and as he walked away he continues to hurl abuse before launching the pipe at the side of the accommodation. In another incident at Hillside, another drunk man, reportedly a landowner, was let inside the facility. Video shows him saying “give me chicken and everything” before walking into the mess hall. Later, refugees clarified “this man was not dangerous, just drunk. He was saying I love you. He was saying we are in his land and that he will protect and support us”, but still questioned the efficacy of security if he had malevolent intentions. Iranian journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani said two nights earlier a local approached the compound demanding the men must leave. A similar incident occurred at Port Moresby around the same time. Boochani noted that the new accommodations were in close proximity to small villages in the island’s township and that tension had escalated as the result of procured land for the facilities. Prior to being forcibly moved, asylum seekers and refugees repeatedly expressed concern about violence from locals and cited the lack of security at the new accommodation. About 60 refugees were flown to Port Moresby from December 13 to be assessed and processed for resettlement in the US, according to notices published by refugees. Credit: Anonymous via Storyful

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