Pressure to mount on Manus island refugees - PNG police

5:53 am on 2 August 2017

Papua New Guinea police say more pressure could be applied to refugees today to leave the Manus Island detention centre.

The gate to Foxtrot compound inside the Manus detention centre.

The gate to Foxtrot compond inside the Manus detention centre. Photo: Refugee Action Coalition

Yesterday, power and water were cut to the centre's Foxtrot compound where 100 refugees are being coerced into moving to an open facility in nearby Lorengau.

More than 700 refugees are refusing to leave the Australian-run detention centre, which is due to close by November after it was found to be illegal.

The Manus Island police commander senior inspector David Yapu said police withdrew from the centre yesterday after Foxtrot refugees declined to depart.

"There was tension. We decided to withdraw. But our men are still there just to assist to move the refugees from the Foxtrot compound to the Mike compound," said Mr Yapu.

"Also those genuine refugees might be moved to the East Lorengau Transit Centre," he said.

Mr Yapu indicated that police would not use force to remove the refugees, but he did not rule out the use of force altogether

"They must voluntarily move. We will have to assess the situation to see the next course of action to take," he said.

Mr Yapu also revealed that police might know who was behind two violent attacks on refugees over the weekend in Lorengau.

"We have some information as to the identity and whereabouts (of the perpetrator, but) we have to go through the process, meaning a complaint must be lodged by the victim," he said.

Refugees were encouraged not to go out at night in Lorengau, according to Mr Yapu, which he admitted was especially dangerous for foreigners.

The refugees cite the weekend's attacks by Manusian locals and many others during their four year incarceration as reason not to leave the detention center.

They also fear they will be forced to settle permanently in PNG if they move to the Transit Centre.