Police in Papua New Guinea said Tuesday they have charged two men over the murder of an Iranian asylum-seeker during a riot at an Australian detention camp in PNG and are seeking three more suspects.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Jim Andrews said Joshua Kaluvia was arrested on Monday while 28-year-old Louie Efi was detained in July.
“These two suspects will shed more light on the violence and killing and hopefully assist in the arrest of more suspects involved in the February violence and death,” Andrews said in a statement quoted by the Australian Associated Press.
The news agency said Efi was believed to have worked for G4S, the British firm which managed security at the centre on Manus Island when Reza Barati was killed. Kaluvia worked for the Salvation Army in an unspecified role.
In May an independent review on behalf of the Australian government found that Barati was “brutally beaten” to death by a Salvation Army worker.
The unrest at the camp in February also left 69 people injured as tensions flared among inmates about their fate under Australia’s hardline asylum-seeker policies.
The inquiry said no particular factor sparked the violence. But tensions were fuelled by frustration and anxiety over a lack of information about resettlement policies, and by dismay among inmates at hearing they had no chance of living in Australia.
There was also antagonism between some in the camp and PNG nationals working there, with some asylum-seekers treating them “in a disrespectful and racist manner”, the inquiry said.
Manus Island houses one of two remote Pacific camps used by Canberra in its tough offshore detention policy. The other is on Nauru.
Under the policy, any asylum-seeker arriving by boat is transferred to the centres for processing and permanent resettlement.
It is not known whether the Iranian, aged 23, had taken part in the unrest.
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said he was aware of reports of the arrest of the two men, and the justice process would now have to follow.