April 14, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s National TV went off air on Friday, failing to broadcast to the young nation that its forces had captured the disputed town of Heglig, which is internationally recognised as being in Sudan’s South Kordofan state.
South Sudanese refer to the area as Panthou and contest that it is in fact in Unity State. South Sudan’s army (SPLA) have occupied the area since Friday after what is described as an air and land assault against Unity State.
South Sudan’s president has resisted international pressure to withdraw and has stated that he will not order the SPLA to retreat unless Khartoum guarantees Heglig will not be used to launch further attacks or UN peacekeepers are deployed there.
However, on Friday the technicians reported an unexpected failure and the news regarding the border clashes was not broadcast.
Technicians working at the station told Sudan Tribune that they experienced a technical problem as they were preparing to show the pictures of the town after it was captured by the SPLA, which included the pictures of hundreds of the dead soldiers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).
The technical failure has made some citizens to suspect an act of sabotage.
This is not the first time the TV failed to broadcast important messages. A similar failure to broadcast occurred when the President of the Republic, Salva Kiir Mayardit, was returning from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, after he met with President Omer Hassan Al Bashir last month.