Sudan, already grappling with a prolonged civil war, has plunged into a digital blackout with all three major internet providers offline. This disruption, affecting 14 million users, has crippled communication for civilians caught in conflict zones and those seeking refuge, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.
While the internet shutdown’s root cause remains unclear, accusations swirl between the government and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Recent disputes suggest the RSF, controlling key infrastructure areas, may have disrupted networks in protest of communication issues. The RSF denies responsibility, blaming the army for outages in specific regions.
The blackout cripples essential services like e-wallets, crucial in a cash-strapped nation. Information flow grinds to a halt, hindering coordination and aid delivery in conflict zones. This comes on top of the devastating humanitarian crisis fueled by the year-long war, already displacing millions.
The international community strongly condemns the shutdown, urging immediate restoration. Hacktivist group Anonymous Sudan responded by targeting entities perceived as RSF-affiliated, disrupting the internet in Uganda and Djibouti.
This isn’t Sudan’s first internet shutdown. In April 2023, authorities censored access for over 200 hours, causing significant economic and social losses. Sudan joins a growing list of African nations restricting internet access, raising concerns about freedom of expression and digital rights.