Papua New Guinea's acting chief migration officer says force will not be used to move detainees from the Manus Island detention centre.
The 606 male detainees have been held for four years after travelling to Australia by sea to seek asylum.
The PNG defence force will take control of the detention centre at the Lombrum naval base when the centre closes at the end of the month, but the detainees said they would resist relocation to three buildings in the island's Lorengau town.
The Post Courier reports the officer, Solomon Kantha, saying detainees will be encouraged to move once services like food and water cease at the detention centre and are in place at the new locations.
The Australian government said it would continue to fund the services which it estimates will cost between US$117 million and US$195 million per year.
Detainees said they feared further machete attacks by Lorengau locals who are also opposed to the move.