PNGDF Commander, Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo says the Defence Force presence is to ensure safety and security.
“As a government agency, PNGDF has been very happy to support our government decision to host the centre. Now the decision has been made to close down the centre, and we have to comply as part of all Government approach.”
Extra troops have been sent to Lombrum to support the unit commander in Lombrum maintain security of the place since all services to the centre, including security, were shut down.
“Since the Asylum Processing Centre has closed on the 31st of October, we have effectively taken over the maritime base. I have issued directions to the Commanding Officer of Lombrum base to prevent any civilians from moving in and out,” says the commander.
He states the processing of the asylum seekers is the responsibility of the government of Australia and PNG Immigration office.
“As the centre has been hosted within the military base, we have an obligation to make sure that our unit is secure and ensure that no illegal person is moving in and out, now that the centre is closed,” continues Toropo.
“All services have been closed; we are just maintaining presence to ensure our assets are in order.
“It is now the responsibility of immigration department to ensure that those people remaining inside Lombrum base move to East Lorengau Town.”
(PNGDF Commander, Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo)