Sudan shuts down internet again

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Internet services in the capital city of Sudan, Khartoum were shut down as tens of thousands of Sudanese gathered to protest the country’s military government.

This is not the first time the internet has been shut in Sudan due to political reason.

Sudan’s first shutdown occurred in June 2019 during a nationwide revolution that saw the Sudanese army overthrow then-president, Omar al-Bashir, and install Abdalla Hamdok as transitional prime minister.

The first shutdown lasted for 36 days.

Almost 2 years later, on October 25, 2021, another month-long internet shutdown occurred when another military coup deposed Hamdok. As citizens took to the streets in protest of Hamdok’s deposition, the Sudanese authorities shut down access to internet and telecommunication services.

There have been at least 2 other internet shutdowns in Sudan since then.

This time, Sudan’s internet is being shut off for similar political reasons.

Citizens are still protesting the October military coup which led to the forced resignation of prime minister Abdalla Hamdok. Demonstrators marched to the presidential palace in droves while security forces pushed back with deadly force that left 5 dead.

The mass protests have led authorities to shut down internet access yet again.

In 2016, the Ghana Police Service chief dropped hints of intentions to shut the internet or social media down during elections that year. His reason was that there was too much fake news and inflammatory language on social media. But the intent was protested vehemently and it never happened.

In the last 4 years, 32 African countries including Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia have experienced internet shutdowns for politically-motivated reasons. It cost the continent over $2 billion, but the cost could be more severe for Sudan. The country is barely recovering from a 30-year isolation period where international sanctions prevented any form of foreign trade or investment.

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