Violence continues to mar the forced relocation of refugees out of the Manus Island detention centre, with three men attacked – two with machetes – in separate robberies on the island at the weekend.
A 27-year-old Sudanese refugee had his leg cut with a bush knife when men broke into a guesthouse he was staying in in the main Manus township of Lorengau on Saturday.
In an unrelated incident, an Iranian asylum seeker had his wrist badly cut when he was attacked and robbed in the street in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Pictures of the man’s injuries – showing a deep wound and significant blood loss – were circulated on social media.
“They turned him over and cut open his veins,” one refugee said. “It was like revenge; like they wanted him dead.”
And later on Sunday, an Afghan refugee was attacked as he walked on the street near the hospital and had his wallet and phone stolen.
The two men attacked with knives have been treated at Lorengau’s small hospital but will probably require more specialist attention in Port Moresby.
The attacks are likely to increase resistance among asylum seekers and refugees to being forcibly moved from the closing Manus Island detention centre to a new “refugee transit centre” built by Australia on the outskirts of Lorengau.
The Papua New Guinean and Australian governments are committed to closing the Australian-run centre – ruled illegal by PNG’s supreme court 16 months ago – by the end of October. The dismantling of the compounds has begun even before men have moved out.
Some refugees have been left living in buildings without power or running water, and threatened they will be arrested if they refuse to move to a compound Australia has built near the township of East Lorengau.
They have been told their chances to be resettled in the US – which many believe are remote and fading – will be jeopardised if they don’t agree to relocation.
Medical, catering, educational and recreational facilities…