‘It’s a walk in the park’: PNG authorities re-enter Manus centre, men bused out

Papua New Guinean authorities have re-entered the Manus Island detention centre and are bussing the remaining 328 men to new camps, after about 50 men were removed from the centre yesterday.

Key points:

  • PNG authorities say that 50 men were moved peacefully while 328 remain inside
  • Refugees report being attacked and detained and forcibly removed
  • Julie Bishop says the situation on Manus does not undermine Australia's reputation

The ABC has seen at least 12 buses turning into the East Lorengau transit centre — it was unclear how many of the 328 men were onboard and whether they all had passengers or just belongings.

"Four buses are full and on way to the new camps," refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani tweeted earlier, adding that other vehicles were carrying belongings.

"The refugees are saying that they are leaving the prison camp because police are using violence and very angry."

External Link: Behrouz Boochani tweets photo of busses moving men on Manus Island

The renewed moves to relocate asylum seekers follow a day of tensions between the men in the centre and Papua New Guinean authorities.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki said in a statement last night that yesterday's relocations were done "peacefully and without the use of force" — in contrast to reports of asylum-seekers in the centre — while urging the remaining men to move.

He added that the current situation should be a "walk in the park" compared to their past lives in their home countries.

"Manus is a peaceful island and I am sure it is a walk in the park compared to what they left behind in their respective countries."

"We are doing the best we can and the refugees cannot continue to be stubborn and defiant.

"The fact is that we are not moving them into the jungle … they are being relocated to two centres where there is water, electricity, food and medical services."

Manus situation not undermining Australia: Bishop

PNG authorities move in to Manus Island detention centre (Footage: supplied)

But refugees, such as Mr Boochani, disagree, saying the new accommodation is a "real prison".

Mr Baki addressed directly Mr Boochani in his statement as "stirring up trouble" while sidestepping his reports that he was handcuffed.

"I've just been released. They handcuffed me for more than two hours in a place behind the prison camp," Mr Boochani wrote last night.

"The police commander yelled at me 'you are reporting against us'. They pushed me several times and broke my belongings."

This morning, Mr Boochani added that police had "attacked" the camp again and were forcing the remaining men to new camps.

"Police attacked the prison camp and the refugees are saying that they beat them," he wrote.

"The refugees are going to leave the prison camp. So many are in the buses and are on the way to the new camps."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the situation on Manus Island is not undermining Australia's international reputation.

"I do not believe so at all," Ms Bishop said.

"In fact nations respect our stand on people smuggling and we are working very closely with countries including Indonesia to ensure that the people smuggling trade is not revived."

The United Nations called for calm yesterday after receiving reports of force being used to move asylum-seekers from the centre.

Tipped over containers and rubbish on the ground at the Manus Island detention centre.

Original Article

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