Drunk PNG soldiers ‘went on a rampage’

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SYDNEY Drunk soldiers "went on a rampage" and fired shots in the air at an Australian asylum-seeker camp in Papua New Guinea, police said yesterday.

PNG police announced an investigation into the unrest at the Manus Island facility, an offshore processing centre reopened in 2012 to detain people who try to reach Australia by boat.

The incident was sparked by an altercation at a football game played by asylum seekers at a navy base outside the compound late on Friday, according to detainees and refugee advocates.

Later, "drunken soldiers in retaliation for one of their colleagues, who was allegedly assaulted by an asylum seeker" entered the detention centre, shouting and throwing objects, the Royal PNG Constabulary said in a statement yesterday.

It said the military personnel "went on a rampage... firing several shots into the air and indiscriminately assaulting policemen, PNG immigration officers, other service providers and asylum seekers".

One senior immigration officer and an asylum seeker were treated at a medical centre, the statement added, without giving further details.

Manus Provincial Police Commander Senior Inspector David Lapu said he "will leave no stones unturned" in his investigation into the incident...

"Someone will answer for what happened."

Australia's immigration department said one man was injured by a rock thrown into the centre, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

"There are reports PNG military personnel discharged a weapon into the air during the incident," the department told the ABC. "No one was injured."

Over three years ago, an asylum seeker died and 69 people were injured in a riot at the facility.