Police raid Manus Island detention centre

Police raid Manus Island detention centre

Police began forcibly removing refugees from a shuttered Australian camp in Papua New Guinea on Thursday, detainees said, as authorities tried to end a standoff that has drawn world attention to Canberra's tough policy on asylum-seekers.

But asylum seekers reported police were using force to remove them from the Manus island camp, where authorities stopped providing water, electricity and food supplies almost three weeks ago.

About 40 police officers and 10 PNG immigration officials went to the center on Thursday, said Dominic Kakas, Chief Superintendent of PNG Police told CNN.

Australia shut down the Manus Island centre after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional, urging asylum seekers to move to transit centres elsewhere on the island.

"We will not be pressured. our border security, the integrity of our borders is maintained by my government, it is maintained by my government and we will not outsource our migration policy to people smugglers".

"PNG authorities have cut food, water and electricity and have told the remaining men they are squatters on defence force property", the ABC says.

One refugee, Abdul Aziz Adam, said about 420 asylum seekers were in the centre early on Thursday. However, asylum seekers inside the facility allege police and immigration officials were being heavy handed.

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Australian Federal Police said in a statement to AFP that they had one liaison officer on Manus, but no personnel were in the camp or involved in the police operation.

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

Tweeting before his reported arrest, Boocahni said police were destroying their belongings, beds, water supplies and stocks of food.

Another refugee, Iranian reporter Behrouz Boochani, was briefly detained.

The MEAA, the Australian journalists trade union, issued a statement saying Mr Boochani had been arrested in what it said was an "attack on press freedom". He stopped tweeting at about 11.30am, shortly before footage purporting to show him being led away from police was tweeted out by fellow asylum seekers.

He has previously asserted that asylum seekers are reluctant to move to the three alternative accomodation centres furbished by the Australian government, citing the fear of reprisals from the local community and lacking medical provisions to those who've already moved.

Australia's refugee policy has prompted protests at home for better conditions and rights for asylum seekers. Deadlines to abandon the camp have passed without authorities taking action.

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They are anxious to try and keep the spotlight on Manus Island, and are likely to resist removal for as long as physically possible.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the refugees and other detainees should obey the directions of PNG police.

Global rights group Amnesty International said Thursday there were "risks of serious injury if the authorities use force", and called for the refugees to be brought to Australia.

"They just attacked here and they are saying that you must move at this time".

The UN has said a majority of the men have refugee status.

Refugees had been given the option of permanent resettlement in PNG, applying to live in Cambodia, or requesting a transfer to Nauru.

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