Police, buses at Manus detention centre as deadline looms

12:01 am on 14 November 2017

A convoy of empty buses and trucks has arrived at the former detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Island Manus Island, which about 420 refugees continue to occupy.

The convoy approaches the Manus Island detention centre.

The convoy approaches the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: supplied

PNG authorities have warned the refugees this could be their last day in the centre, where power and water were cut two weeks ago.

Six buses and two trucks were reported by refugees to be outside the centre, along with three cars containing members of a police paramilitary unit.

Personnel from the PNG immigration department were also reported to have entered the centre today to destroy wells and the tanks in which refugees had stored rain water.

Journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani said refugees were worried they would be attacked.

But this morning, PNG immigration minister Petrus Thomas told RNZ that the refugees would not be forcibly evicted.

"As I maintain, there will be no forced movement but they have to voluntarily move," he said.

Mr Thomas said about 180 refugees had quit the protest since it began two weeks ago and moved to three facilities in the island's main town.

Lawyers representing refugees today launched an appeal in the PNG supreme court, which adjourned the case until next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, refugees holding out in the centre reacted to news that the New Zealand government would further talks about resettling Australia's offshore detainees.

At the East Asia Summit in the Philippines, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday she would be repeating New Zealand's offer to Australia.

"I'll be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have grave concerns over the situation on Manus Island, but also for the refugees on Nauru, and that our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve the situation," she said.

A banner from 104th day of protest on Manus Island, 12-11-17.

A banner from 104th day of protest on Manus Island, 12-11-17. Photo: Behrouz Boochani

Mr Thomas said he would not deal directly with New Zealand on what he sees as Australia's responsibility.

"I maintain that Australia has to take the leading role because the refugees are the responsibility of Australia to resettle them," he said.

"For us, in PNG, we basically were to process them. So we've already processed, now Australia needs to take the leading role and resettle them in New Zealand or any third country."

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