February 24, 2024

Sudan Hit By A Complete Internet Outage Amidst Civil War

The civil war in Sudan that started in April 2023 has taken another grave turn. Amidst the rising death toll and poor living conditions, the citizens now have to deal with a complete internet blackout.

The news was first brought to light by NetBlock, a watchdog that monitors internet freedom. They shared a tweet on X talking about the loss of internet connectivity in the war-torn country. NetBlock also found that Zain, the biggest network operator in Sudan, was mostly offline.

Zain responded to this stating how hard it was to maintain connectivity in the country because they are “working under very difficult, harsh, and dangerous circumstances”.

The company also added that the circumstances surrounding the current internet outage are beyond their control. NetBlocks also found other disruptions in the service of other major providers like Uganda Telecom, Sudani, and MTN.

Some sources from Sudan have confirmed that people there have been having trouble accessing the internet since Friday.

Who’s At Fault For The Blackout?

At first, the RSF was blamed for the loss of internet connection. But they not only denied these allegations but one of their officials also said that it was the army who sent direct orders to disrupt internet connection.

The affected areas include Khartoum, Darfur, Kordofan, and some Gezira states—mostly areas that are under the paramilitary group.

But again, Digital Rights Lab (an independent and non-political non-profit Sudanese organization) accused the RSF of taking over the data centers of some of the major network providers in the countries.

There has been too much back and forth between the parties with respect to who is responsible for the internet outage. But as of now, no concrete answer has been found.

Meanwhile, a hacker group by the name of Anonymous Sudan has joined the chaos. They recently attacked Djibouti Telecom, a leading state-owned network provider owing to Djibouti’s supposed ties with the RSF. This group is also responsible for the disruptions faced by MTN,

As per reports, approximately 14 million users from Sudan have been affected by this internet blackout.

More About The War

The conflict started in April 2023, between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Since Sudan is still ruled by military regimes, this war is a clear outcome of a power struggle between the two groups, each wanting an upper hand over the other.

The country and its citizens are in a dire state with continuous violence going on for 10 months. The people who chose to stay behind in the war-inflicted zones are now desperate for even basic needs such as food, water, and electricity.

The latest calculations suggest that more than 9 million people have been displaced since April and about 25 million are in desperate need of aid.

Acknowledging the crisis, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffith said “Ten months of conflict have robbed the people of Sudan of nearly everything – their safety, their homes, and their livelihoods,”

Cities are turning into ghost towns with thousands of innocent citizens getting caught in the crossfire.

The lives of those who moved away from the war-inflicted areas are no better. Thousands of refugees have been cramped into makeshift refugee camps where they only get one meal a day.

Lack of refrigeration and access to clean water has drastically increased cases of food poisoning. Other diseases like Cholera are also expected to shoot up unless humanitarian aid arrives on time.

The UN however is struggling to send aid. Officials say they need a ceasefire to safely send help. But despite multiple peace-making attempts, there have been 900+ security issues with aid workers and 19 deaths, making it one of the most dangerous places to send assistance. The UN is also struggling financially to fund its $4.1bn aid plan.


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