Asylum seekers on Manus Island arrested by PNG police: Aussie minister

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/24 9:12:52

A number of refugees have been arrested as Papua New Guinean officials tried to clear them out of Manus Island, Australia's immigration minister has confirmed.

Police from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and immigration officials on Thursday moved into the Manus Island regional processing center where asylum seekers attempting to come to Australia by boat are held, in an attempt to force the remaining detainees out of the facility.

The Australian government officially closed the center at the end of October but more than 400 men remained behind, claiming that they feared for their safety in the PNG communities where they would be moved to.

The men have survived off a small amount of food provided by Manus Island locals and rainwater after essential services to the center were cut off.

Peter Dutton, Australia's Immigration Minister, confirmed that PNG officials resorted to arresting the men who refused to leave the facility on Thursday.

"A number of people have been moved and we would expect the number, which up until this morning had been about 370 people, would drop obviously below that," he told Sky News Thursday night.

"There is a lot of work that is ongoing and the operation is still underway."

PNG police returned to the center on Friday, forcing the remaining men onto buses that would take them to temporary accommodation in East Lorengau.

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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