By Manyang Mayom
July 29, 2010 (JUBA) - Over hundred police trainees in Eastern Equatoria State(EES), have staged a peaceful protest against food shortage in their training camp.
One policeman, Owen Bosco, told Sudan Tribune that they marched from the learning wing at Himodonge Hills to Torit town, and gathered at the Freedom Square where they delivered speeches claiming that poor living conditions and food shortage had resulted in seven days without food. Bosco also added that trainees did not receive their food rations for about a week.
Furthermore, the trainees’ representative said that lack of proper accommodation as well as unhealthy environment had caused diseases. He also complained about the lack of latrines. “There are few latrines but such latrines are not enough to all people”, he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the deputy governor of Eastern Equatoria State, Nartisio Loluke, has strongly denounced the claims of protesting police trainees. Loluke said that the trainees’ protest was actuated by the political influence of some state members who visited the training camp and talked the trainees into doing “such barbaric acts and spoiling the name of the state’s government.”
Loluke further said that his government intends to strengthen the capacity of management teams and beef up security in the training camp.
South Sudan has been training a thousand-strong police force to be tasked with enforcing security during the referendum period.
In a related development, a journalist working for the government-owned local radio station has claimed he was tortured while covering the protest at the Freedom Square. The journalist, Hasan Gama Oscar, told Sudan Tribune that he had encountered “hostility” while he was covering the police trainees’ protest. Gama Oscar said that he was tortured and that state media were ordered not to cover the protest or broadcast any newscasts about it. According to Oscar, the order extended to both local radios and newspapers.