By June 27, 2019

Can You Reach Anyone In Mauritania And Ethiopia? Still On The Internet Shutdown

By June 27, 2019

If you are having a hard time reaching out to your Mauritanian friends via social media, it’s probably because the internet has been shut down for the past two days. In most parts of the North African country, connectivity has been cut, according to a NetBlocks report.

Mauritania Joins The Web Strike

This web blackout is the result of contested presidential elections held over the weekend. “Real-time network measurement data provide evidence that the country has been disconnected amid the election controversy, following over 48 hours of widespread mobile internet disruptions,” NetBlocks said in a statement.

The outage has taken its toll on all of Mauritania’s consumer internet providers, with 92 percent of nationwide connectivity knocked out. Nonetheless, a small number of users have reported that that have been able to maintain intermittent connection.

The country has joined the bandwagon of African countries to have cut denied internet access “for political reasons” – Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. 

Mohammed, the country’s ruling party candidate, won by 50.41 percent, after which local police swept the headquarters of the opposition parties protesting against the election results.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), opposition candidates said they wanted peaceful protests in demands of the disclosure of the “true ballot results.” 

What About Ethiopia?

This country has been on an internet shutdown spree in the past month. After shutting down the internet to curb malpractice during national exams, the East African country went on to sustain the blackout due to failed military coup attempts.

This happened amidst reported yet unconfirmed assassination of senior officials in the country’s northern Amhara regional state on Saturday (June 22). 

Today, it was reported that the internet had been restored at 6:00 am after more than 100 hours of the second shutdown.

Confirmation from NetBlocks says that current levels are approaching 90 percent of normal connectivity levels prior to the disruption. But no one knows if the internet has come to stay this time. 

The outage had done one too many numbers on citizens who rely on online services for information and business in the country, one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

It is estimated that outages like this cost African economies thousands of dollars each day the plugs are pulled. However, this apparently does not serve as a deterrent to African government who use this measure for different reasons.

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