Sudan still without internet despite court order to restore services

Disruption began on October 25 when Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was deposed in military takeover

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A Sudanese court has ordered the three main telecoms providers in the country to restore internet access, but services were still disrupted more than two weeks after they were first cut off.

Internet activity monitor NetBlocks reported on Tuesday that the disruption, which began on October 25 when a military takeover deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, largely continued after the court order.

NetBlocks said mobile service was briefly restored for major operators at 4pm on Tuesday, “allowing some messages and videos to come through".

One Sudanese social media user in the US said she had not spoken to her family since services went down.

“I didn’t speak to my mother and family in 16 days. This in 2021,” business specialist Jia Elhassan said on Twitter on Tuesday.

The US Agency for International Development Mission in Sudan said cuts to internet services were a breach of international law and a “suppression of freedom of speech".

On Tuesday, Sudan's military chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan issued a decision to form a group to strip financial support from the Empowerment Removal Committee.

The committee, which has been suspended, was established after former president Omar Al Bashir was ousted. It was set up to dismantle Al Bashir's regime and dissolve his National Congress Party.

Sudanese opposition groups have called for another “march of millions” protest to be held on Saturday, November 13.

Several Sudanese told The National they have resorted to using word of mouth and leaflets to organise demonstrations against the military takeover because internet access was cut.

Large protests were staged on October 30 to mark the anniversary of the 2019 uprising, with thousands of people taking to the streets to show their opposition to the removal of Mr Hamdok.

Cuts to internet access during political unrest is not uncommon in Sudan. Services were disrupted during the nationwide protests that toppled Al Bashir.

Mediation efforts between the military and civilian leaders continue to stall.

Updated: November 10, 2021, 11:14 AM