Manus Island: Australia confirms removal of asylum seekers
Asylum seekers who refused to leave a former Australian-run detention centre in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been moved to new housing after a three-week stand-off, Canberra has confirmed.
The group had resisted leaving the Manus Island camp after it shut on 31 October, fearing attacks by locals.
Buses carrying about 300 asylum seekers left the centre on Friday after police entered the facility for a second day.
The former detainees claimed some men were struck with batons by PNG police.
Videos posted on social media showed PNG authorities swinging poles towards asylum seekers.
“They [the asylum seekers] are leaving, all the people. They don’t like to move but then they beat us,” one refugee told the BBC on Friday.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that claims of violence were “inaccurate and exaggerated”. Australian police said they were not involved in the operation.
Earlier, PNG police commissioner Gari Baki said that the police operation was being conducted “peacefully and without the use of force”
Under a controversial policy, Australia has detained asylum seekers who arrive by boat in camps on Manus Island and Nauru, a small Pacific nation.
Australia shut down the Manus Island centre, which held only men, after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional.