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YEI - 4 Apr 2014

Protest in Yei turns violent; five injured

At least five people were injured in Yei County on Wednesday during a protest by community members to demand benefits from teak companies in the area.

The community complains that the Gambo and Sons Timber Company operating the teak plantation uses foreign labourers rather than the locals. They also say that the community reaps no benefits in terms of community development.

One of the community members Bosco Khemis told Easter Radio on Thursday that the demonstration aimed at alerting the government to fulfil their needs.

He said they do not benefit from the dwindling teak forests while schools and hospitals remain poor and the area lacks basic services including sources of clean drinking water. 

Bosco Khemis said the community went to stop activities of the companies in the forest until the government meets their demands, Easter Radio reported.

He explained that the community had the intention to peacefully stop workers of the company, but they responded violently. He accused company workers of beating some community members. 

One of the injured community members was taken unconscious to the hospital. 

Yei River Forest Administrator Ezideo Taban defended the company, saying most workers in companies were from the local community.

He said the strike had halted the company’s operations for two days. 

Reporting by Easter Radio, a member station of Catholic Radio Network