Asylum seekers removed from former Australian detention centre

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Canberra, Nov 24 (IANS) Asylum seekers who were refusing to leave a former Australian-run detention centre in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been moved to alternative accommodation, the government in Canberra confirmed on Friday.

Buses carrying about 300 asylum seekers left the Manus Island camp on Friday following a police operation, reports the BBC.

Hundreds of men refused to leave the camp when it shut on October 31, prompting a three-week stand-off.

Some men were beaten with batons by PNG police, detainees claimed.

“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.

Earlier, police commissioner Gari Baki said that removals on Thursday had been conducted “peacefully and without the use of force”. Australia has said it was not involved in the operation.

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 after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the UN said on Thursday that it was troubled by reports the men were being forcefully moved but could not independently verify the allegations because its staff had been denied access to the centre.

–IANS

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