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(en) Australia, MEDIA - Masked group aids escape - another aided woomera breakout

From dr.woooo@NOMASTERS.ORG
Date Mon, 3 Feb 2003 05:32:06 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

ABOUT five people wearing balaclavas have helped asylum 
seekers escape from the Woomera detention centre, 
attacking and injuring two security officers.

Port Augusta police inspector James Blandford said four 
or five people had helped six detainees break out from 
the South Australian complex about 1.15am (ACDT).

They then fled in two cars.

Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said the group who 
helped the asylum seekers escape centre attacked officers 
with tyre levers and tried to drive over them.

Mr Ruddock said three escapees were from Iran, two from 
Afghanistan and one from Iraq. 

He said all six were single, one was aged in his 30s while 
the others were in their 20s.

Mr Ruddock said a small group of people wearing balaclavas 
had premeditated the escape and used a large car jack to 
open fencing to reach the detainees.

"Those aiding and abetting the escape attempted to drive over 
detention officers as they were trying to constrain the 
escape," he told reporters.

"The report I've read says that one of the detention officers 
was attacked around the legs with a tyre lever.

"Another was hit in the chest with a similar implement. "This 
was premeditated, very deliberate."

Insp Blandford said the detainees left Woomera in two cars, a 
blue Ford station wagon and a white four-wheel drive.

"We are pretty sure from information that we've received that 
certainly the white troop carrier was seen travelling south 
towards Port Augusta," he told ABC radio.

"It comes across as a very well planned and executed event where 
the detainees were provided assistance to escape the lawful 
detention up at Woomera."

Insp Blandford said road blocks were in place on main highways, 
with officers stopping vehicles and asking the public for 

"If they should see anything strange or untoward in regards to 
these detainees, or vehicles on the highways, searches will be 
mounted on the off-chance they've actually gone off the road 
into the bush," he said.

"I'd plead with anybody who may have information or may know 
the whereabouts or the plans of the detainees or the people 
that assisted them to come forward and help us find them and 
make sure that they're safe and well.

"If they've not well supplied with water or shelter or food, 
being out in the far north regions with the temperatures 
soaring certainly causes us some concerns in regards to their 
welfare, regardless of the consequences or the actions of 
actually leaving the custody of the detention centre.

"Our main concern is to find them safe and well and to ensure 
that we don't have any tragedies." 



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