Sudan Plunged into Darkness: Internet Blackout Amidst Ongoing Civil War

Sudan Plunged into Darkness: Internet Blackout Amidst Ongoing Civil War
Sudan
Written By : Leah De-Graft Takyi


As the 10-month civil war in Sudan persists, the nation has been thrust into a digital blackout, severing its connection to the online world. Many fingers point at the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, for this abrupt disruption, although the RSF vehemently denies any involvement.

NetBlocks, a watchdog monitoring internet freedom, reported a new collapse of internet connectivity in Sudan. This blackout coincides with a Sudanese hacktivist group targeting Uganda for welcoming RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. NetBlocks also noted disruptions in the services of internet providers Uganda Telecom and MTN, although on-the-ground reports from a BBC correspondent in Kampala indicated no noticeable issues.

In Sudan, citizens have been grappling with an internet outage since Friday, and the situation has deteriorated since then. State-aligned media outlets attribute the blackout to the RSF. In contrast, an RSF official, as reported by the Sudan Tribune news site, accused the army of issuing direct orders to cut communication in parts of Darfur, Kordofan, Khartoum, and Gezira states—regions largely under the control of the paramilitary group.

On Wednesday, NetBlocks reported that one of Sudan's major mobile operators, Zain, was largely offline. Zain, in a Facebook statement, cited operating under extremely difficult and perilous circumstances, asserting that the network outage was beyond its control. Two other providers, MTN Sudan and state-owned Sudani, were operating at zero capacity on Friday, according to NetBlocks.

This internet blackout compounds the existing challenges faced by a nation already ravaged by war. The United Nations has issued an appeal for $4.1 billion to address the urgent humanitarian needs of those in Sudan, including those displaced by the conflict.

"Ten months of conflict have robbed the people of Sudan of nearly everything - their safety, their homes, and their livelihoods," emphasized Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Urgency is paramount in addressing Sudan's precarious situation.

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