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Melut protesters threaten to close Airport over unmet oil services

Author: Obaj Okuj, Alhadi Hawari | Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Some of the protesters meet local leaders on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020. Courtesy photo/ Ayeik Ador.

Residents of Melut County in Upper Nile state have threatened to shut down Paloch Airport if their demands for services from DAR oil firm are not met.

The second day of protest begun this morning as young people there called on the government to intervene to resolve the grievances.

The angry natives have accused the company of negligence in disposing of waste and provision of services such as clean drinking water to the surrounding community.

Other demands include providing health care, educations, and employment of the locals in the Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC).

They reportedly spent last night at the operational base center of DPOC.

The protestors want the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry Labour to mediate between them and Dar Petroleum Company.

One of the protestors who spoke to Eye Radio via phone from Melut said they will also interfere with the operations of the company if the government does not intervene.

“We don’t want any plane to land in the airfield, except the plane of the Minister of Petroleum and the Minister of Labor and the President of DPOC, without that we don’t any plane to land in the airport,” Ayeik Ador told Eye Radio on Tuesday.

“We are still continuing with the peaceful protest, we will not leave the streets until the minister of labor and the minister of petroleum and the president of DPOC meet our demands, so this is what happened this morning,” he added.

Officials in the area, however, say the demonstrators have not submitted an official letter detailing their grievances and demands.

“There is a peaceful protest, but I am waiting for the petition so that I take it and submit it to the national government,” said William Paul, the former Secretary-General of the defunct Northern Upper Nile State.

“At the moment, we are meeting with the county local security committee. Once we are done, we will send their demands to the national government.”

In response, the Minister of Labour, James Hoth Mai said his ministry was not officially notified of the demands of the people in the area.

“Well, I was informed yesterday morning by the IGP of the Police, but there’s no official letter came to us in the labor here. Up to now, it’s the ministry of petroleum who is actually managing.”

The Ministry of Petroleum and DPOC are yet to comment on the matter.

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