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Workers dismantle structures in Lombrum detention camp on Manus island, Papua New Guinea, November 13, 2017. Behrouz Bouchani/Social Media/via REUTERS

PNG threatens to forcibly remove asylum seekers from abandoned Australian detention center

SYDNEY: Papua New Guinea Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas said authorities would take steps on Monday to forcibly remove around 450 men who remain in an abandoned Australian detention center without food or running water.
Hundreds of men have barricaded themselves into the Manus Island center for more than 13 days without regular food or water supplies, defying attempts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to close the facility, saying they fear for their safety if removed to transit centers.
“We will be taking steps with relevant authorities to move the residents based on serious exposure to health risk for the food of everyone that is remaining,” Thomas said in a statement issued late on Sunday.
As of 5.00 p.m. (0700 GMT) Monday, no moves had been made by the government to remove the men, several asylum seekers inside the center told Reuters via email.
One of the asylum seekers barricaded inside the center said on Monday that water supplies have been destroyed after Papua New Guinea workers entered the site and drained rainwater collected in tanks and garbage bins.
“Immigration came and bored holes in the water tanks where we had been collecting rain water,” he said, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from Papua New Guinea authorities. “They also demolished the well we built.”

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