Internet and communications shutdown deepens Sudanese people's tragedy

Khartoum- For the second consecutive day, Sudan is experiencing almost complete isolation from the outside world due to cuts in communications and internet services.

Communications and internet networks in most of Sudan's states have been partially shut down since last Friday afternoon, then recovered in a fluctuating manner and completely shut down by Tuesday, following the country's ongoing war. is a new expression of the effects of. Between April Army and Rapid Support Forces.

The Kuwaiti “Zain”, South African “MTN” and Sudanese “Sudanese” companies provide; Communications services in Sudan, but – according to communications engineers – they do not have alternative backup operators for emergency situations.

The communications crisis left the alternative capital at Port Sudan completely isolated from the outside world, except for those using Canar's landline. It is very limited and faces difficulties in working smoothly.

guidance

Former communications minister Hashem Hasseb al-Rasoul told Al Jazeera Net that what happened was for companies to shut down communications services on the instructions of the Rapid Support Forces.

He pointed out that the current widespread shutdown used the same mechanisms that the authorities had previously resorted to during major incidents in Sudan, including dispersing the General Command sit-in on June 3, 2019, as well as larger protests. Cited cuts in services during this period. Which the country was watching.

According to the messenger, he added: “But this time, the closure was done through another new party, which is the real authority.” He warned of the “devastating” effects of stopping the service on the lives of Sudanese people, as it disrupts the economy and people's livelihoods by blocking banking applications, adding that this is considered a “humanitarian crime”.

Sudanese and two Zain communications engineers told Al Jazeera Net that representatives of the Rapid Support Force – during a joint meeting with representatives of telecommunications companies – set conditions for restoring service in Kordofan and the 4 Darfur states under their control, and He gave the companies 72 hours to shut down service to all of Sudan before the threat was implemented.

He said an agreement had been in place between the two sides of the conflict for months that communications should not be part of weapons used in war, yet the agreement was violated.

One of the technicians – who preferred to remain anonymous – said that Rapid Support officers had indicated the possibility of targeting the communications tower; It stores very important information related to the state and universities, and most of them do not have backup copies.

difficulties

Some areas of Darfur are operated to a limited extent via satellite internet “Star Link”, but this costs high. It was designed for companies and institutions working in remote areas. It cannot be purchased or considered a substitute for mobile phone services.

A Zain company source said that restoring service in Darfur is fraught with technical and security difficulties. It is difficult for teams to repair the ground cables that connect communication stations to each other and are located in remote areas due to security threats.

It cannot be repaired due to sabotage of communications towers in many major cities, lack of spare parts, as well as severe fuel shortages, which hinder operation of generators due to almost permanent power cuts.

The former communications minister, Hashim Hasseb al-Rasoul, confirmed that Darfur was out of service due to technical malfunctions, including interruptions in ground cables and the inability for maintenance teams to reach malfunction areas due to war conditions.

“Telecom companies operate in extremely complex circumstances and are to be thanked for their dedication to continued services,” he said, and he appealed to both parties to provide protection for technical staff and treat them as emergency workers.

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