Aust rape suspects could return to Manus

The family of an alleged rape victim claims the operator of the Manus Island immigration detention centre has promised three former guards will be flown back from Australia to face questioning by Papua New Guinea police.


The father of the woman and community supporters, armed with machetes, hijacked a 25-seater bus and a three tonne truck belonging to the centre on Monday, out of anger that the three men had not faced justice.

The detention centre guards, who were stood down and sent back to Australia after the alleged incident in mid-July, faced a possible death sentence if convicted in PNG.

Manus MP Ron Knight, who’s in touch with the woman’s family, said the father and community leaders met on Tuesday with the management of Transfield Services, which operates the centre.

He said the company had promised to fly the guards back to Manus by next week and that the woman’s supporters had released the vehicles.

“They released the vehicles on the understanding that the three would be brought back on a charter flight to face the music,” he told AAP on Wednesday.

But Mr Knight said the woman’s family did not have this in writing and he was doubtful it would happen.

“It could just be a delaying tactic,” he said.

Australia’s Immigration Department said vehicle incident was a local matter.

“This incident is a matter for the Manus provincial police,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Port Moresby officially took over the investigation into the alleged rape after Manus Island police threatened to storm the detention centre and arrest managers for perverting the course of justice unless the trio was returned.

Further comment is being sought from Transfield, Wilson Security and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office.

A spokesperson for the immigration department said the Australian government was co-operating fully with local authorities on the matter and would continue to do so.