The National, Monday October 21st, 2013
SYDNEY: Australian medical staff have been moved to safety on Manus Island after a security incident involving PNG agencies last Friday.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison confirmed that the international health and medical services staff at the detention centre had to be moved for their own safety. He refused to reveal what had happened.
The briefing was told there were currently 1,061 people on Manus Island, 827 on Nauru and 2,211 on Christmas Island.
Morrison only revealed the information about the incident after being questioned about tweets from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre reporting that employees were evacuated due to security concerns.
“There was an incident earlier today (Friday) on Manus Island and appropriate steps were taken to ensure staff were placed in safety,” he said.
Morrison refused to elaborate further saying it was a matter for the PNG government.
He said staff had been evacuated to a nearby naval vessel, but he was forced to put out a statement after the briefing saying he had been misinformed.
In the statement, he said he had since been told no staff had been removed to the HMAS Choules.
He said the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its service providers took appropriate measures to ensure the safety of staff and transferees. – SMH