Hundreds refuse to leave as PNG’s army prepares to take over Manus centre
Australia's detention facility at Manus Island in Papua New Guinea will permanently close this afternoon and the 600 men who have been refusing to leave have been told they must go.
In a final notice to the men inside the detention centre, posted overnight, PNG Immigration authorities said the facility would close at 5:00pm today.
The notice said the site would be returned to the PNG Defence Force and anyone choosing to remain would be liable for removal from an active military base.
The power and water will be cut off at 5:00pm, the food service will cease and all PNG immigration staff will depart.
The closure was announced after a PNG court ruled the detention facility was unconstitutional.
This morning the ABC saw several busloads of Australian officials and workers heading to the island's airport with a police convoy.
A senior PNG immigration official has confirmed all Australians working for the Australian Border Force and the contractors Broadspectrum and Wilson Security had left the detention centre.
The men inside the centre are being urged to move to the alternative accommodation that has been provided at three sites in the main town of Lorengau.
External Link: @liamfoxabc: A #PNG immigration official said all @AusBorderForce, Broadspectrum & Wilson Security staff left the #Manus detention centre this morning.External Link: @liamfoxabc: A refugees inside the #Manus detention centre says there are no #PNG immigration staff their either. Police have also disappeared.
One of the refugees inside, Behrouz Boochani, tweeted that the notice was causing fear but said he and others were determined to stay, citing concerns about their future.
Amnesty International Pacific researcher Kate Shuetze told the ABC the men were worried about how they would buy necessities such as food and medicine.
"Essentially there's no real plan here for them to be able to rebuild their lives, so that's really quite alarming," she said.
"We haven't heard anything from the Papua New Guinean government as to whether these men would be allowed to work in the community and whether they're freely able to move around the country.
"In fact, we're hearing the opposite and all the indications around these new centres and the security around these new centres indicate that they're moving them from one prison to another with no logical rationale behind it."
Kon Karapanagiotidis, the founder and chief executive of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, has claimed the closure will leave hundreds of refugees in "immediate serious danger".