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Leaders of striking workers arrested in Wau

Author : | Published: Thursday, May 4, 2017

Some leaders of the workers trade union at the University of Bhar al-Ghazal have been arrested while on a pay strike.

The workers went on strike on Wednesday morning over transport allowances, promotions to new grades, and a demand to remove the vice chancellor.

A member of the executive committee of the union, Philip Abiel, said four of their leaders, including the chairperson and the secretary general, were arrested at the campus in Wau.

Mr. Abiel told Eye Radio that the arrest came hours after the workers began a strike in demand for transport allowances and promotions to new grades.

He said the officers who conducted the arrest “came to our office, and they said we need representatives from the trade union; we have a meeting with you in our office.”

“Unfortunately it was not for meeting. These people were called to be arrested. They were arrested, we don’t know why, what is the problem because our strike is a peaceful strike,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Samson Wasara, has confirmed the arrest.

He told Eye Radio that the arrest came after the workers denied the deputy governor entry to the campus.

“We were informed when they were arrested, because they closed actually the whole doors of the university and then the acting governor who is actually Anthony Mgberende went there,” Prof. Wassara said.

“We wanted to go inside the university, and then they refused to open the door for him. And when he went back he instructed the security to put them under arrest. I can’t answer … whether they were arrested for asking about their allowances or for the removal of the vice chancellor, so I know that they don’t have actually that right to do it,” he said.

This is the second time the union have gone on strike in about a month over the demand for transport allowances and the removal of the vice chancellor, Samson Wasara.

Mr. Wasara said the strike and the call for his removal are illegal.

The Deputy Governor of Wau state said the security organs arrested leaders of the striking workers due to security concerns.

Anthony Charles Mgberende told Eye Radio that the arrest was to maintain security in Wau town.

“The arrest of those workers is to safeguard the security of the town and the university students not to come out, because those students of the university don’t have any sin,” Mr. Mayar said.

“The services and education will stop [if we don’t act] and with this we will have done very bad action to the students. And due to this – for security [reasons] – authorities said there is a right to take action in anytime and anywhere,” he said.

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