October 12, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan government said Wednesday that it would be forced to disconnect social media and other online mainstream media for circulating "false information" on the president’s health status.
The information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth accused young South Sudanese of “misusing” social media and that authorities will soon take action.
“If these situation continues, don’t be surprised if we disconnect you with the world (sic)," he told reporters in the capital, Juba.
South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir led a street procession on Wednesday to dispel rumors of his ill health. Driving in an open hardtop car, Kiir waved to supporters in the afternoon sunshine and later told reporters that his life was in "the hand of that Person (God) who created me."
The information minister said South Sudanese authorities would swift off the internet and join neighboring Ethiopia in restricting citizens’ liberties, days after the Horn of Africa nation declared a state of emergency, limiting access to social media by the protesting Oromo and Amhara activists.
"Ethiopia is moving [on as a country] but there is no connectively. And if this situation continues, don’t be surprised if we disconnect you (from) the world. We will act and some of these cyber will not continue," said Lueth.
Rumors circulated on Facebook Tuesday that President Kiir had allegedly died after illness, prompting denial from spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny.
There was heavy of military personnel on Juba streets, sparking fears of possible tension as shops and other businesses closed early on Wednesday.
"All these are very wild rumors created to inculcate fear in Juba," said Lueth, but declined to comments on the heavy deployments on Tuesday.
In July, clashes in Juba between forces loyal to Kiir and those allied to former first vice-president, Riek Machar resulted into more than 200 deaths.