Dozens arrested as locals in Unity state protest against GPOC

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 Dozens of youth from South Sudan’s Unity state have been arrested after protests erupted this morning at Unity oilfield demanding GPOC to provide services including employment to the local population, officials say.

A local government official at the Unity oilfield said the governor of Unity state, Nguen Manytuil, immediately ordered arrest of the youth and deployed members of the national security to the site where protests were taking place in Unity.

The NSS officers, assisted by members of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces’ Fourth Infantry Division, then arrested around 30 young men who were protesting and took them to an unknown location.

“Yes I am in Unity as we speak now and what happened is that there was a protest this morning from the local youth here who were demanding service from the GPOC like clean water among other services as well as employment,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“So, the security arrest 30 of them and took them to unknown location. This security was ordered by teh governor to do what they are doing right now and this is all what has taken place this morning,” the he added.

‘Genuine concerns’

In a brief statement on his social media Facebook page, Buay Keake, a lawmaker at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly representing Rubkona country, said protesters’ demands are genuine concerns.

“I want to say this are more genuine concerns as well the rights of local population as stipulated in our petroleum act and the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 as amended,” Buay said.

He urged the state authorities to respect the rights of the local population to peaceful protests and said he support peaceful protests by the youth to raise grievances to companies working in their area.

“I call upon the states authority and the security forces to respect the rights of location population particularly the youth and allow peaceful dialogues,” Buay said.

I support peaceful demonstration and dialogue between the Youth and the oil companies, it’s necessary,” he further added.

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