The joint operation, code named Klinim Base, was successfully accomplished on Friday (Nov 24) with the mass removal of over 300 refugees.
It was conducted by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority, Police and PNG Defence Force.
Manus provincial police commander, Chief Inspector David Yapu, said 12 buses and 4 trucks provided by Paladi Security were utilised to transport the refugees to their new locations at East Lorengau Refugee transit centre, Hill side and West Lorengau at Ward 1.
“Although we encountered challenges and resistance from the refugees, we managed to accomplish the task at a diplomatic and professional manner,” stated PPC Yapu.
“Media reports on the use of force by the joint team were baseless and unfounded.
“This was one of the complex tasks when dealing with refugees from foreign countries.”
The PPC said the 387 refugees and asylum seekers outnumbered their 60-man team but they managed to contain the situation.
“The refugees and asylum seekers have resettled well in their new locations with basic services like food, water and electricity.”
PPC Yapu said his officers are patrolling and monitoring their new locations to ensure Police presence and visibility at the immigration detention centres.
He said as a Government agency, they were only implementing the Government directives based on the following grounds:
- Supreme Court decision for the closure of the centre and removal of refugees and asylum seekers to their new locations where basic services were provided;
- Nation Government gazette for the relocation of the MRPC at Naval Base at Lombrum and declarations of hill side and West Lorengau as a legal immigration detention centre;
- Health authority report that condemned the centre as unhealthy and can easily attract water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery;
- PNGDF to take back their land for their normal military activities;
- By law, the refugees were illegal and unlawfully settling on the military base
PPC Yapu further commended the team for a job well done.