Sudan internet providers face shutdown amid ongoing conflict News
© WikiMedia (Christopher Michael)
Sudan internet providers face shutdown amid ongoing conflict

All of Sudan’s three main internet providers have been completely shut down, according to a Wednesday post from internet monitor Netblocks, significantly disrupting communications for individuals within conflict zones and those trying to escape violence. Beginning last Friday, this blackout has led to rising hunger and the looming threat of famine across various areas. The cause of the shutdown remains a subject of dispute, with the Sudanese government and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) pointing fingers at each other, further complicating the dire situation as the country grapples with its humanitarian crisis.

The ongoing civil war, which began in April 2023, marks the latest chapter in Sudan’s history of internal strife, with this conflict seeing the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) pitted against the paramilitary RSF. This war has resulted in significant casualties. according to the UN, with more than 13,000 reported deaths, and has displaced 7.6 million people.

Earlier this month, the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Sudanese entities accused of funding the conflict, targeting financial institutions and companies linked to the military and RSF. In addition, the EU took action last month by freezing the assets of six entities accused of exacerbating the crisis. Meanwhile, the UN has sought $4.1 billion to address the needs of civilians affected by the conflict, highlighting that half of Sudan’s population requires assistance and protection.

On the other hand,  this crisis includes a history of internet shutdowns used as a political tool, often disrupting essential services and economic stability. Sudanese authorities have previously enacted internet blackouts, with the most prolonged incident occurring in 2019 for 37 days after a Khartoum protest, and another significant shutdown following the military coup in October 2021 for 25 days. Other instances have coincided with national exams or tribal conflicts, leading to isolation in various regions like Darfur.