Judges Down Gavels Saying South Sudan Owes Four Years’ Expenses

More than 140 South Sudanese judges went on strike to demand better working conditions and the reimbursement of four years of expenses, a spokesman said, in the latest action by state employees in the African nation blighted by civil war and economic crisis.

Only seven of the oil-producing country’s 150 judges declined to participate in the nationwide strike that began Monday, Mohammed Abdallah, one of the demonstrators, said by phone from the capital, Juba.

Demands include an increase in the number of courtrooms, to tackle overcrowding, and more office equipment, he said. Calls to Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth’s phone didn’t connect, while presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny declined to comment on the strike.

South Sudan is trying to recover from a more than two-year conflict that has left tens of thousands of people dead, slashed government revenue and sent annual inflation soaring to almost 300 percent. Lecturers at the country’s five public universities have been on strike since late May to demand three months of unpaid salaries and benefits.

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