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Rioting asylum seekers destroy Nauru detention center

YAREN, Nauru, July 20 (UPI) -- A detention center on the island nation of Nauru, built to hold migrants seeing asylum in Australia, has been destroyed in a riot, officials said.

The Australian immigration department said the center's offices, medical facilities and dining room were destroyed, The Guardian reported Saturday.

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Australia does not plan to move anyone held at the center to detention in Australia, officials said.

More than 400 detainees have been moved to a "black soil site" on Nauru that has no permanent accommodations. Tents are being constructed to house the detainees and water supplies are being installed.

Nauru police are holding another 129 asylum seekers.

All detainees have been accounted for.

More than 100 detainees had conducted a peaceful protest for a week over the length of time authorities were taking to process claims for asylum. The protest devolved into a riot Friday afternoon, officials said.

Many of the estimated 150 rioters were armed with knives taken from the kitchen, the BBC reported.

The riots began before Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced all asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat would be transferred to a facility in Papua New Guinea. No one arriving in the country without a visa would be allowed to settle in Australia, he added.

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