Refugees still refusing to move

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Manus police commander David Yapu confirmed yesterday that refugees at the regional processing centre were still refusing to relocate to their new living quarters.
He said in a statement that on Wednesday, none of the refugees made any attempt to voluntarily leave the Manus Regional Processing Centre (MRPC).
“All buses were provided at the centre to transport them but the refugees refused to leave the MRPC,” Yapu said. He said the MRPC at the Lombrum naval base had been revoked by the Minister for Immigration and Border Security Petrus Thomas as a permanent place of immigration detention.
According to the National Gazzette released on Wednesday, Thomas revoked the declaration made on April 4, 2016 to make the MRPC a permanent place of immigration detention and declared the Hillside Haus to be permanent places of immigration detention on Nov 1.
“The minister has declared in the National Gazette the new sites at Hillside Haus as permanent places for immigration detention,” Yapu said.
He said this now gave police and the Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority powers to move all the refugees and asylum seekers to the new sites.
“Force is not an option and that the refugees and asylum seekers are being politely asked to voluntarily move to their new residences.”
He said all basic services including electricity, water and food at the MRPC had been stopped. Hopefully this would force the residents to relocate to the new sites where there was food, water and electricity.
“The PNG Defence Force will take back the centre for normal military activities.”
PNGDF commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo also confirmed with The National that the base had been handed back to the military.