This article was last updated on May 27, 2022
Malek Gutnyin Garwer, the director of 95.9 FM, described the items which were stolen by unknown criminals who robbed into the radio station on Wednesday 20th August, breaking in through two doors.
“two doors have been broken and some people took out the mixer from the studio. The desktops that we have been using for broadcasting have been taken. They have taken also taken another desktop in the other room, they took two phones for the radio broadcasting… Now we have left only the transmitter and the receiver for the Voice of America.”
Gutnyin said the three desktop computers that were stolen had been given to the station by Free Voice, an international media-based NGO which supports peacebuilding through radio programming, for the supports of their operations. 95.9 FM has now been the victim of thieves six times. In April 2013, two printers, five telephones, two laptop computers and one desktop computer, a radio and 15 plastic chairs were taken.
Gutnyin said that the thefts sometimes happened when security are there guarding, the thieves scaring the guarts and gaining entry by force. Other thefts were more stealthy and harder to explain. “Last year, it happened many times and this year is also applying the same thing. So we are using the police to secure our equipments but also it happens while in the presence of police,” said the director of radio.
Director Gutnyin says the station always reports thefts to the police in the hope that they will trace the criminals. “We report to police, then they record the things taken and they always say, ‘that will be our information, we are going to investigate those who are behind this’.”
A security officer said the police unit of investigation trying to trace the culprits and bring them to account. He said they had managed to send a team to control the town outlets and investigation is underway to verify the whereabouts of the criminals.
95.9 FM is the only private religious radio station operating and owned by Pentecostal church under Sudan Christian Ministry (SCM) of God. In addition to its general programming, it rebroadcasts Voice of America (VOA) news and programs in the state. The state’s government-owned radio station was forced to close due to serious damage suffered during the crisis which spread to Bor in late December 2013.
John Achiek De Mabior, the radio program manager who left the radio on air last night, said: “I am not very happy for what has happened overnight when the radio was stolen. And this will create negative impact to the community who are really enjoying Radio Jonglei within the state because it is the only radio operating in Jonglei state”.
Peter Maluak Lual, a Radio Jonglei listener, says after the theft and the resultant closure of the station, it will be very hard to get information whether within the state, in South Sudan as a whole or internationally.