Extra police on standby for Manus relocation

2:44 pm on 27 October 2017

Extra police are on standby to assist Papua New Guinea's Immigration Department relocate refugees when the Manus Island detention centre closes.

Detention centre guards on Manus Island.

Detention centre guards on Manus Island. Photo: Behrouz Boochani

Ahead of next Tuesday's scheduled closure, police have noted heightened security risks around the 718 detainees still on Manus, over 550 of whom are deemed genuine refugees.

The police commissioner Gari Baki said the force would be ready to help Immigration relocate various refugee and asylum seeker groups into three new transit camps at East Lorengau.

Although police manpower on Manus is outnumbered by the detainees, Mr Baki said extra police were ready to deploy to Manus and deal with any trouble that arose.

He alluded to a "small disgruntled faction among the refugees at the Lombrum Navy Base" who he claimed were creating uncertainty among the rest of the detainees.

"The safety of both the refugees and government workers plus staff members of leading agencies is not to be taken for granted given the tension that is now being expressed by the locals on Manus Island," said Mr Baki.

An image from the 75th day of protest at the Manus detention centre.

An image from the 75th day of protest at the Manus detention centre. Photo: supplied

Detainees warned of food cut in centre

Meanwhile, Manus Island detainees have been told that mess facilities in the detention centre will cease on Sunday prior to Tuesday's closure of the centre.

A notice posted in the centre said food bags containing provisions for three meals a day would be dispensed on Monday and Tuesday.

The notice said food services were available in three other buildings in nearby Lorengau town where Immigration authorities want the detainees to move to.

However, most of the detainees were refusing to move. The refugees and asylum seekers held for four years by Australia, fear further attacks by locals opposed to their relocation.

Lawyers, seeking a court order for the refugees to be resettled in a third country, are hopeful the PNG supreme court will also order the provision of food and water to continue at the centre beyond next Tuesday, for detainees who refuse to leave.

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