Source: Post Courier
BY GORETHY KENNETH
The PNGDF will have no choice but to forcefully evict the protesting refugees if the situation gets uncontrolled, Lombrum Naval Base Commanding Officer Begsy Karaki said.
But CO Karaki assured no arbitrary actions on their part will be instigated as the 600 odd refugees and non refugees were still under the “care” of the PNG Immigration Office with Australia.
“They will not be forcefully removed. They are here at the military camp and most of their base in military camp are out of bound to any civilian and they will not be seen wondering around in the camp…but if anything happens, with instructions from Head Quarters, we can act,” he said.
The Lombrum Naval Base in Manus is a sensitive military base operated by the Maritime Operations Element of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
Australia and the PNG Governments agreed in 2013 to have the Manus Regional Processing Centre set up in the premises of the military camp, with full knowledge of the military rules.
CO Karaki also explained that there was no call out and that there was no real threat right now but the military base operations was on standby for anything.
“There is no panic and those that have pre-conceived ideas developed by the asylum seekers. I reiterrate that there is no threat,” he said.
“This is Australia’s problem now being brought in here, and we are getting blamed for issues we did not create. We cannot get involved, we have no say in this, but because they are placed here at our military camp, we hope there are some solutions quickly, so we carry on with our duties and tasks.
“This program has placed more responsibility on us, but we have to carry out the tasks.
“If anything happens in the vicinity of the camp, if any threat – I will only act on HQ instructions,” he said.
When asked about the facilities now at MRPC which is inside the Lombrum Naval Base, whether it was now the property of the military base, CO Karaki said he had no idea.”I have nothing on my table saying that, at the moment we don’t own anything because there is no gifting or there is no arrangement or even myself I am not aware of this one or any of that arrangement. We don’t own anything, although it is in the military establishment but we don’t own anything. It is still in the higher process level where they will sort it out,” he said.