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An Iraqi asylum seeker injured himself while trying to escape Manus Island and not while attempting to commit suicide, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman says.

The Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul today issued a statement saying the man, believed to be in his 30s, attempted to hang himself at the Papua New Guinea offshore processing centre.

He said the man was part of the group of 40 asylum seekers transferred from Darwin to Manus Island on Saturday.

However, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said today that the recently arrived man had been injured while trying to escape the island with two other men about midnight.

“Their attempts were thwarted and they were shortly after returned to the centre,” the spokesman said.

“I can confirm a man was treated for minor injuries after banging his head against a fence.

“People are saying a man attempted suicide - that is absolutely not true.”

Mr Rintoul said however that yesterday’s transfer has left the Manus Island detention centre distressed and in despair.

“Most of the those transferred yesterday have refused to eat meals.”

Another 40 men were transferred to the offshore processing centre on Saturday, following 30 men being moved to another offshore processing centre on Nauru earlier in the day.

The single men, mostly Iranians, Iraqis and Afghans, arrived at Manus island at about 1230 (AEDT) yesterday.

The West Australian

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