Police action defended


The joint operation by PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority, police and PNG Defence Force to move refugees and asylum seekers out of the Lombrum naval base was successfully completed on Friday, with the mass removal of 332 refugees.
This was according to Manus police commander Chief Inspector David Yapu.
He said 12 buses and four trucks provided by Paladi Security were used to transport the refugees to their new locations at East Lorengau transit centre, Hill Side and West Lorengau.
Yapu said although they encountered resistance from the refugees, they managed to accomplish the task in a diplomatic and professional manner.
“I rebut foreign media reports of the use of force by the joint team for the removal of the refugees which was baseless and unfounded,” Yapu said in a statement.
He said it was a complex task dealing with refugees from other countries and not PNG.
“The approach taken was professional,” Yapu said.
“The 387 refugees and asylum seekers outnumbered our team of 60 members on the ground but we managed to contain the situation, with lot of resistance from the refugees.
“The refugees and asylum seekers have resettled well at the new locations, with basic services like food, water, electricity and accommodation provided.
“Some have been seen at the weekend walking into the town doing shopping and marketing and are free to move around.”
Yapu said his officers monitoring the new locations to ensure police presence and visibility at the immigration detention centres.
He said police were only implementing government directives based on:

  • The Supreme Court decision to closure of the centre and removal of the refugees and asylum seekers to their new locations;
  • a Government gazette calling for the revocation of the Manus Regional Processing Centre at the Lombrum naval base and the declaration of Hill Side and West Lorengau as legal immigration detention centres;
  • a health authority report which condemned the centre as unhealthy; and,
  • The decision for PNGDF to take back its land for normal military Activities.

Yapu commended the joint team for implementing the Government directive.