Senegal cuts mobile internet (Again) amid election delay, citing security concerns

By : Adoni Conrad Quenum

Date : mardi, 06 février 2024 17:08

Last updated : mardi, 06 février 2024 17:11

Senegalese authorities have restricted mobile internet access, echoing a move made in 2023 during demonstrations in support of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.

Senegalese authorities suspended mobile internet access nationwide from Sunday evening, citing concerns about "hateful and subversive messages" circulating online ahead of planned protests against the postponement of the presidential election.

The Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Economy announced the temporary suspension in a statement late Sunday, saying it aimed to "prevent public order disturbances." The move follows Saturday's announcement by the outgoing president of a delay in the election, sparking calls for demonstrations.

This is not the first time internet access has been restricted in Senegal during politically sensitive periods. In 2023, mobile data was cut for nearly five days following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. Critics have condemned both instances as violations of freedom of expression. The suspension has resulted in a significant financial loss for the Senegalese economy, according to the specialist British platform Top10VPN which put the loss at XOF34.9 billion (nearly $58 million). 

The restriction has also impacted various players in the informal sector, including VTC drivers, online vendors, and delivery drivers, for whom mobile Internet is integral to their activities. As of September 2023, the country had 18,595,000 mobile Internet subscribers, per data from telecom regulator ARTP.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum


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