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Manus Island detainees say locals ‘looting refugee camp’

Manus Island detainees claim locals are looting Australia’s offshore detention centre with just hours to go before water and power are cut off. 

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are refusing to leave the centre at the Lombrum Navy Base in Papua New Guinea for fear of their safety outside.

All staff have left the centre, and there are multiple reports Manus Island locals wielding machetes are looting the site ahead of its closure on Tuesday afternoon.

Manus Island detainees claim locals are looting Australia’s offshore detention centre with just hours to go before water and power are cut off (pictured is a looter stealing a fan)

All staff have left the centre (pictured), and there are multiple reports Manus Island locals wielding machetes are looting the site ahead of its closure on Tuesday afternoon

All staff have left the centre (pictured), and there are multiple reports Manus Island locals wielding machetes are looting the site ahead of its closure on Tuesday afternoon

Sudanese refugee Abdul Mohammad says asylum seekers and refugees fear for their lives.

‘Some of the locals have come inside and are stealing boxes, fire alarms, the fans, some of them are taking the air-conditioners,’ he said from Manus Island.

Former Manus Island MP Ron Knight suggested former workers were responsible for stripping bare the facilities because they hadn’t been paid entitlements.

Bangladesh refugee Mohammad Ohidul Islam said some locals have been throwing rocks at refugees inside the centre.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are refusing to leave the centre (pictured) at the Lombrum Navy Base in Papua New Guinea for fear of their safety outside

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are refusing to leave the centre (pictured) at the Lombrum Navy Base in Papua New Guinea for fear of their safety outside

‘We are really scared,’ he said from inside the centre.

He said refugees and asylum seekers at the detention centre would be holding a meeting in the afternoon to organise teams for night patrol security shifts, while others sleep.

Food packs were last distributed on Sunday night and detainees are using bins and other objects to catch rain water, with running water and power to be cut off on Tuesday evening.

Lawyers for the roughly 600 men in detention lodged a Supreme Court application in PNG on Tuesday, arguing the group’s constitutionally protected human rights were being breached by the removal of basic services.

Sudanese refugee Abdul Mohammad says asylum seekers and refugees fear for their lives (pictured are facilities at the Manus Island Regional Processing Facility)

Sudanese refugee Abdul Mohammad says asylum seekers and refugees fear for their lives (pictured are facilities at the Manus Island Regional Processing Facility)

Lawyers for the roughly 600 men in detention lodged a Supreme Court application in PNG on Tuesday, arguing the group's constitutionally protected human rights were being breached by the removal of basic services (pictured is the centre ahead of its closure on Tuesday) 

Lawyers for the roughly 600 men in detention lodged a Supreme Court application in PNG on Tuesday, arguing the group’s constitutionally protected human rights were being breached by the removal of basic services (pictured is the centre ahead of its closure on Tuesday) 

Detainees fear they will not be safe at three other facilities they are meant to relocate to around the island’s main town of Lorengau, after locals threatened to use violence to stop them from moving.

Extra PNG police and defence forces have been flown into Manus ahead of the closure deadline.

Local media have reported PNG Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas as saying the detainees won’t be forced to leave the detention centre.

Acting prime minister Julie Bishop says refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island will be guaranteed all appropriate services at their alternative accommodation.

Detainees fear they will not be safe at three other facilities they are meant to relocate to around the island's main town of Lorengau, after locals threatened to use violence to stop them from moving (pictured is the centre ahead of its Tuesday closure)

Detainees fear they will not be safe at three other facilities they are meant to relocate to around the island’s main town of Lorengau, after locals threatened to use violence to stop them from moving (pictured is the centre ahead of its Tuesday closure)

‘I understand the PNG government has made arrangements for all essential services to be available at the alternative accommodation – food, water, electricity and medical services,’ she told reporters.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has little sympathy for those left at the centre.

‘They have long claimed the Manus (regional processing centre) was a hellhole – but the moment it was to be closed they demanded it be kept open,’ he said in a statement.

Labor’s immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann urged the Turnbull government to urgently de-escalate tensions on the island and ensure the safety of refugees.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has little sympathy for those left at the centre (pictured)

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has little sympathy for those left at the centre (pictured)

‘Transferring refugees from one centre to another is not a long-term solution. These people urgently need viable third country resettlement options,’ he said.

Amnesty International’s Kate Schuetze, who is on Manus Island to observe the closure, said PNG police and defence forces had a chequered history of violence against refugees.

Ms Schuetze pointed to the Good Friday shooting, when nine people were injured after PNG military personnel opened fire on the Manus Island centre.

Amnesty International's Kate Schuetze, who is on Manus Island to observe the closure, said PNG police and defence forces had a chequered history of violence against refugees (pictured is the centre ahead of its closure)

Amnesty International’s Kate Schuetze, who is on Manus Island to observe the closure, said PNG police and defence forces had a chequered history of violence against refugees (pictured is the centre ahead of its closure)

PNG’s government has warned Australia it would take no responsibility for ‘non-refugees’ and people who refused to settle in PNG, saying they were the obligation of the Australian government.

The Lombrum centre was forced to close after the PNG Supreme Court ruled in April 2016 that Australia’s detention of refugees and asylum seekers there was illegal and unconstitutional.

Six detainees have died on Manus Island – including one who was murdered – since the offshore detention centre was reopened in 2012. 

Six detainees have died on Manus Island - including one who was murdered - since the offshore detention centre was reopened in 2012 (pictured are refugee advocates protest against the closing of asylum-seeker camps in Papua New Guinea, in front of the Sydney Commonwealth government offices on October 31)

Six detainees have died on Manus Island – including one who was murdered – since the offshore detention centre was reopened in 2012 (pictured are refugee advocates protest against the closing of asylum-seeker camps in Papua New Guinea, in front of the Sydney Commonwealth government offices on October 31)

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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