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Shots Have Been Fired At An Offshore Detention Centre Run By The Australian Government

"Some of the bullets hit rooms."

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Asylum seekers at an offshore detention centre run by the Australian government claim they were left cowering in their rooms when members of Papua New Guinea's Defence Force fired shots at the Manus Island centre on Friday night.

Handout / Reuters

Iranian refugee and detainee Amir Taghinia was on a bus to the centre when he heard the shots just after 6:30 pm local time.

"The PNG defence force started shooting at the centre and we were turned back," Taghinia told BuzzFeed News.

"All the Australian workers ran towards where the cargo ship is and apparently they are getting off the island."

"We were hiding in the bushes for a few hours."

This photo sent by detainees to BuzzFeed News allegedly shows where bullets have punctured through a metal fence at the detention centre.


Detainees, the Refugee Action Coalition, News Corp and Fairfax Media have reported the shooting began after a local tried to shut down a soccer game involving detainees at the naval base which surrounds the centre.

Taghinia and a few of his fellow detainees sustained scratches from the barbed wire fence near the bushes but there have been no other reports of injuries.

A spokesperson from Department of Immigration and Border Protection said there was an "incident" at the centre involving "residents and PNG military personnel".

"There are reports PNG military personnel discharged a weapon into the air during the incident. No-one was injured." the spokesperson said.

"Residents are safely inside the centre."

"There are reports one resident was injured from a rock thrown during the incident and he is receiving treatment."

We dont know what kind of weapons used but holes shot into fences and some rooms in Foxtrot prison. No shooting in past hour, sounds quiet

Behrouz Boochani/Twitter

"This evening some of the refugees and local people fought each other near the soccer ground," Kurdish journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani posted on Facebook just after 9pm on Friday night.

"The PNG navy started firing shots and all of the refugees came back to the centre to their rooms and tents."

"The refugees and Australian officers are extremely scared and are in the centre now in the rooms and tent."

Boochani claimed the navy fired "more than 100 times and some of the bullets hit rooms" but said there were no reports of any injuries.

Around "100 shots" were fired by PNG officers, the Refugee Action Coalition posted on its website.

"One report indicates that there was a clash between refugees and local navy staff playing soccer, that escalated into an attack on the detention centre," the coalition's website said.

"Locals began attacking the centre with rocks and knives. After PNG police fired shots, there are reports that navy staff have responded by firing at the PNG police and shooting into the compounds."

“Wilson security and all staff have fled the compounds, leaving refugees and asylum seekers unprotected and concerned for their lives."

"The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby is making urgent enquiries into the reported unrest on Manus Island," a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

"If you have any concerns for the welfare of family and friends on Manus Island, you should attempt to contact them directly."

Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at

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