‘Precautionary’ mobile internet slowdown in Sudan’s Kassala
Mobile internet services were suspended or severely limited in the Sudanese town of Kassala from Thursday till Saturday. Activists suggest it was an attempt to maintain calm in the town after inter-tribal violence that claimed eight lives last week.
A Radio Dabanga reporter in Kassala told the newsdesk that the internet services provided by Zain and MTN in Kassala were cut off at around noon on Thursday noon. The service of a Sudanese provider was also noticeably weak, although wired ADSL services continued as normal, he said.
He confirmed that service ‘returned to normal’ on Saturday evening and that the situation in the town has returned to an uneasy calm.
While there have been no official statements from the government or service providers, curtaining the internet has been used by Sudanese authorities as a strategy in the past to hamper communications.
Last year, Sudan endured an almost total internet blackout for 38 days from June 10. The shut-down was ordered by the then ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) citing reasons of ‘national security’ following the massacre during the break-up of the sit-in at the General Command of the army in Khartoum on June 3.
Sovereign Council delegation
The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that a Sovereign Council delegation, currently on a visit to Kassala, today inspected the security situation in the state. The delegation, which is chaired by Mohamed El Faki and includes Prof Hussein Sheikh and Minister of Youth and Sports Walaa El Boushi, was briefed on the incidents by the State’s Security Committee.
The delegation was also, briefed on the interventions and the efforts being exerted by the regular forces and other security units, to contain the disputes.
El Faki stressed in statements following the meeting the importance and necessity of imposing the prestige of the state and the rule of law, noting that "the events that took place in a number of states are considered a message and an indication that must be reconsidered".
Fighting erupted a week ago between members of Nuba tribes in South Kordofan who settled in Kassala and members of the eastern Sudanese Beni Amer tribe. Following reconciliation efforts by tribal leaders and the deployment of a government security force, calm returned on Monday.
Leaders of the Nuba and Beni Amer tribes in Kassala presented a proposal for mediation on Wednesday.
The death toll in the clashes reached 11 people, eight from the eastern Sudanese Beni Amer tribe, two men from the Nuba Mountains, and another person. About 70 Beni Amer tribesmen, and 30 Nuba sustained injuries. Most of them have recovered.
Many people who fled their homes are in living in dire conditions.
Covid-19 lockdown extended
SUNA reports that the Acting Wali (Governor) of Kassala state issued a decision today extending the lockdown for an additional period of 10 days, starting, May 17 in all parts of the state, in accordance with the previous precautions.
The decision, which was issued due to the increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases in the state based on health advice that calls for imposition of social distancing measures to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic.
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