More than 20 Monyiemiji detained, rescind the ultimatum
On Thursday, after Wednesday’s protests in Torit, the South Sudan National Security Service (NSS) detained more than 20 members of the Monyiemiji Forum, who gave an ultimatum that NGOs would depart in 72hrs.
The Monyiemiji Forum including youth from Torit, Ikotos, and Lopit counties of Eastern Equatoria State allege that their issues regarding unfair employment have not been handled since they petitioned the state administration in April.
Two members of the Monyiemiji on the Omoliha market were detained by national security on Thursday morning. Other members of the Monyiemiji rallied and marched to the headquarters of national security to ask for their comrades’ release, but they too were detained.
Following the arrests, the state Governor of Eastern Equatoria Louis Lobong Lojore talked about the growing Monyiemiji unemployment tale on the government-owned Voice of Eastern Equatoria State 97.5 FM radio.
Lobong asked the Monyiemiji to apologize and encouraged them to enable the government to settle their complaints whilst NGOs, including United Nations organizations, function freely in the State without interruption. He verified the arrest of certain young Monyiemiji.
“I am sad that these children of ours stormed the office of National Security yesterday (Thursday), and some of them were detained and some of them ran. We as a government must create laws, execute laws, and those who breach the law will be prosecuted. These kids didn’t give us an opportunity to help them address their situation, so they’ve gone above and beyond the law. They issued an ultimatum to NGOs, which Governor Lobong described as “intimidation of the government and organizations.”
“If the organizations leave, our citizens will suffer; it will take years for them to return, and where will people be during that time?” he added. “I want to assure our citizens that we (government) will enforce the law, will provide security to the organizations and citizens, and we have told organizations not to leave; today (Friday), we will meet with organizations to ensure that they provide their services.”
Despite the government’s efforts to settle their complaints, the governor stated that the young must apologize to the state for demonstrating and presenting an ultimatum to NGOs.
Lobong advised parents to talk to their children about the consequences of threatening state-run humanitarian organizations, stating that they serve the most socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Governor Lobong stated that the committee’s employment appraisal process will only proceed if the situation remains peaceful, and that those detained will be probed and prosecuted if found guilty.
Johnson Sereno Omojo, a member of the Monyiemiji Forum, said the group has sent the state government a formal apology and canceled the 72-hour deadline to allow humanitarian groups to continue their work.