ICT Africa Headline News

Somalia Mobile Internet Access Halted Following Al-Shabaab Threat

23 January, 2014

Al-Shabaab on Tuesday (January 21st) forced the shutdown of mobile internet service in some areas under its control, after giving telecommunications companies a 15-day ultimatum to halt access.

Residents of Bulo Burde, Halgan, Mahas, Jalalaqsi and other areas reported that internet access through Hormud Telecom was unavailable as of Tuesday evening, according to UN-funded Radio Bar-Kulan.

Hormud representatives in Bulo Burde said their negotiations with al-Shabaab to restore internet have failed.

Al-Shabaab announced its ban on the use of mobile internet and fibre optic cables earlier this month, justifying it by saying Western intelligence agencies use the internet to gather information on the mujahideen. The terrorist group also said mobile internet was a danger to children and young adults who access and distribute content that goes against Islamic principles.

The Somali government and citizens condemned the restrictions on access to information. Al-Shabaab has previously banned other essential access to information in areas it controls, such as its ban on watching television and its harassment of citizens who use smartphones.

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