4th August 2021
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Why Melut protesters have occupied commissioner’s office

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Melut: Peaceful protesters demand services from oil companies on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 | Credit | Courtesy

Protesters have reportedly occupied local government offices in Melut town to demand the release of seven youth leaders in Upper Nile State.

On Monday, some residents took the streets after Dar Petroleum Operating Company or DPOC allegedly dumped waste in their area.

They also accused the company of failing to provide services such as clean water and road repairs to the community as required by law.

As a result, Melut County Commissioner reportedly ordered the arrest of those he thought were behind the protests.

They are Thon Beny, Kur Aguek, Dhieu John, Santino Doki, Jok Nun, Naywai Jok, and another identified only as Adau.

In reaction, the residents matched to the county headquarters and occupied the offices.

Thon Beny, a youth leader in the area, told Eye Radio on Wednesday that the peaceful demonstrations are ongoing.

“Now the commissioner is working from the guest house of the county because protesters occupied the county headquarters and gate is closed and no way for him to enter,” Beny said from a police cell

On Tuesday, Commissioner Deng Jou confirmed the arrest of the 7 youths.

He told Eye Radio that the move was to ensure law and order is maintained.

“There was a threat from those youth to to sabotage the oilfields if we didn’t solve the demands,” Jou stated.

“In this situation as a government what can we do? Let the police deal with them and open the official case and investigate them.”

In 2020, the resident of Melut argued that government and oil companies have provided little services to oil-producing communities.

They demanded the implementation of projects such as the maintenance of the roads, and connecting communities to water points, healthcare centers, among others.

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