JUBA – South Sudan government has denied that it intentionally interrupted internet and blocked social media sites like Facebook to curtail protests saying the ongoing internet interruption has nothing to do with the anti-government protests that were planned for today.
Throughout this month, the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) has been mobilizing the people of South Sudan to take to the streets to demand end of President Salva Kiir’s government and his first deputy Dr. Riek Machar Teny who is also the leader of the main armed opposition SPLM-IO.
The protests which were planned for today didn’t however take place due to fear of violent government respond as senior government officials including senior presidential advisor Kuol Manyang Juuk, giving threats that the government does not have tear gas, but live ammunition.
Earlier, residents in many parts of Juba told Reuters agency that as of Sunday evening mobile data was unavailable on the network of South African mobile operator MTN Group , and by Monday morning it was also halted on the network of Kuwait-based operator Zain Group.
Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, a London-based group that monitors internet disruptions, said it detected “significant disruption to internet service in South Sudan beginning Sunday evening, including to leading cellular networks”.
Information minister Michael Makuei admitted the internet disruption, but claimed that the shutdown has nothing to do with the protests.
“For the internet and so-forth, we have a technical problem that the engineers are working on; it has nothing to do with what is happening,” Michael Makuei who is also the official government spokesman said, according to Eye Radio.