Papua New Guinea police are responding to reports of shooting at the Manus Island detention centre.
- Asylum seekers said Australian staff were seen running for a boat moored nearby
- “It’s crazy, many people are in shock,” an Iranian refugee said
- Police said they were not sure who the attackers were
Asylum seekers say members of the PNG Defence Force stationed at the Lombrum Naval Base, next to the detention centre, began firing at 6:30pm.
They said Australian staff were seen running for a boat moored nearby.
Iranian refugee Amir Taghinia was on a bus being driven into the centre when he heard shots.
“It’s crazy, many people are in shock,” he said.
“The Navy is shooting people.
“The staff were running out of the compound like crazy, I think they were getting on a ship.”
Iranian asylum seeker Benham Satah said Australian security staff were sheltering inside the complex with the detainees.
“Security staff were inside, they were hiding with us,” he said.
Mr Satah said the attackers were using high-powered weapons and their fire left bullet holes in the accommodation buildings.
“They were repeatedly shooting and a couple of rooms have been shot,” he said.
Asylum seekers inside the centre said they did not know if anyone had been shot.
There is a situation at the centre: police commander
Police on the island said they were sending reinforcements to the centre, but they were not sure who the attackers were.
“We have police on the ground and they are trying to contain the situation,” Provincial Police Commander David Yapu said.
“There is a situation at the centre but I am still waiting for a report.”
It is not the first time there has been high-level violence at the centre.
Iranian asylum seeker was killed Reza Barati and dozens more people were injured when guards and local people responded to a protest in February 2014.