Food ban at centre

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
POLICE have warned Manus people attempting to sneak food and water through to the refugees inside the now decommissioned regional processing centre for the past week to stop.
Provincial police commander Inspector David Yapu said the military, which owns the naval base on which the centre is located, had warned that the area was out of bounds to civilians.
Yapu said the Manus and military police had to stop locals taking food and water to the group inside the centre at the Lombrum naval base.
The centre was closed last Tuesday by the Australia and Papua New Guinea governments in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling on April 26 last year which said the detention of the asylum seekers was unconstitutional.
Some of the detainees refused to move to the alternative accommodation provided on Manus on the advice of their lawyer Ben Lomai,  who is challenging their evacuation in the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Sir Injia Salamo is expected to hear the case today.
Yapu said tough measures had to be taken to force the asylum seekers to move to the alternative accommodation provided in East Lorengau.
“We have intercepted locals using boats to transport food to the refugees at the centre. They were strongly warned not to do so again.”
Yapu said the commanding officer of the Defence Force naval base at Lombrum, where the centre was located, had directed that the area was out of bounds to civilians. “Police are still monitoring the centre with constant patrols around the area, including the new camp site at Ward One Lorengau,” Yapu said.
“Police have been given clear instructions not to move into the centre and use force to move the refugees to their new locations.”
Yapu said officials of the United Nations plus the international media were closely monitoring the situation. He said police were working with the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority to manage the situation.
“I am confident that the current police strength on the island has the capacity and capability to manage and control the situation on the ground. At the moment there is no requirement for additional manpower on Manus,” Yapu said.

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