About of 200 traders in South Sudan are demanding an estimated $100 million for food they supplied to training camps for soldiers over the last two years.
The suppliers were contracted by the National Transitional Committee (NTC), a body formed by the unity government to oversee the implementation of a peace deal that brings together rival sides which fought in the civil war into a unified army.
The traders also supplied non-food items such as tents, blankets, bed sheets and mattresses for soldiers in the camps. But some of them have not been paid since 2019.
Early this month, the government promised that their money would be paid by Wednesday.
A spokesman for the suppliers, Kasha Majok Kuol, told the BBC that some of their representatives went to the offices of the NTC chairman on Thursday.
“We were surprised to find security forces deployed around his office.
“What happened today really caught us by surprise – to find police and soldiers deployed around his office to deter us from getting to him.”
When contacted by the BBC, Peace Building Minster Stephen Par Kuol, who is also the secretary general of the NTC, declined to comment.
He said the matter should be referred to the NTC chairman.