Severe internet outages reported in Sudan amid deepening political crisis

11 Jun 2019176 Views

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Sudan has been gripped with violence as the country’s military leadership cracks down on demonstrators fighting for civilian rule. A near-total internet blackout, however, has made it difficult to fully ascertain what has been happening in the country.

Citizens in Sudan have been plunged into an internet blackout as increasingly concerning reports of paramilitary attacks and escalating violence emerge from the country.

New network measurements taken by NetBlocks have found that what remained of the country’s internet connectivity was disconnected as of 12.00pm UTC on Monday (10 June).

This disruption impacts Sudan Telecom’s Sudani service. It follows the loss of Canar Telecom and Mobiltel Zain. Meanwhile, mobile connectivity has already been largely offline across Sudan since 3 June. Data shows, NetBlocks reports, that even more restrictions have been put in place affecting Sudan’s fixed-line connectivity.

These measurements confirm that internet restrictions are now more severe than those implemented during the rule of ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

The current military leadership has admitted to cutting the internet, a practice that it has previously denied. Reports suggest that these outages have made it difficult for citizens to stay informed, reach safety and monitor the various human rights violations that have been allegedly perpetrated in recent days.

Through December to April, Sudanese ISPs have disrupted social media, censored media and frequently disabled nationwide connectivity.

During the longest disruption, Sudanese citizens were unable to access Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram from 21 December 2018 to 26 February 2019, according to NetBlocks internet measurements.

NetBlocks determines internet performance and service reachability via web probe measurements, which consist of latency round-trip time, outage type and autonomous system identity aggregated in real time.

Sudan has been in the throes of violence due to a crackdown on its civilian uprising. Grassroots groups are demanding a civilian-led transition into democracy after months of protests successfully toppled the rule of Al-Bashir. This challenges the military junta currently ruling Sudan.

In response, the military leadership is alleged to have launched a series of brutal and sporadic paramilitary attacks, many of which are concentrated in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

Eva Short is a Journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com