UN Urges Sudan to End the Country’s Internet Shutdown

UN urges Sudan to end the country’s internet shutdown. The UN Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths has reportedly called for an end to the shutdown of internet in Sudan, describing the act as “unacceptable” and then also calling for immediate action.

UN Urges Sudan to End the Country’s Internet Shutdown

UN Urges Sudan to End the Country’s Internet Shutdown

During the internet shutdown in Sudan, it is very challenging to communicate, send money, or even get access to basic amenities, and attend to humanitarian needs. MTN, Zain Sudan, and Sudatel Telecom Group, a state-owned telecommunications company are among the firms to be impacted that have reportedly disconnected more than 14 million active internet users nationwide.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) forecasts that approximately 25 million people in Sudan will require humanitarian assistance in 2024, coinciding with the country’s pressing need for aid and the timing of Sudan’s Internet blackout.

Sudan’s Turmoil Continues

Amidst the turmoil, the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), engaged in conflict with the Sudan Army, have reportedly been utilizing Starlink technology since August 2023. Starlink, a satellite internet service provided by SpaceX, has expanded its coverage to over eight African nations, including Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa, and has collaborated with the MTN Group, a South African telecommunications company.

The Distribution of Starlink in Africa

However, the distribution of Starlink is prohibited in certain countries like Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Botswana, where it is subject to sanctions. Despite this, following the Sudan Internet shutdown, Starlink has gained popularity, with users reportedly obtaining it through RSF-controlled areas via South Sudan and Chad.

Reports indicate that traders affiliated with the RSF in some regions are charging civilians up to $2 per hour to access Starlink services. The RSF is alleged to be responsible for the Internet blackout, which occurred after a loss of connectivity in its stronghold in western Darfur.

Challenges Faced By the Country in Restoring Internet Connections

Zain Sudan, a major telecommunications operator, has faced challenges in restoring Internet connections in Darfur due to security concerns, fuel shortages, and power outages. Alfatih Erwa, CEO of Zain Sudan, revealed that the RSF threatened to extend the blackout nationwide unless Internet services were reinstated in Darfur.



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