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Sudan junta clampdown bans anonymous mobile sim cards

July 21 - 2022 KHARTOUM

The ruling military junta in Sudan has directed all telecommunications providers in the country to immediately stop issuing mobile phone sim cards that are not registered to a person’s identity. Technical Committee of the Security and Defence Council has also urged “judicial and security authorities” to take action against “the inciters of racial troubles and advocates of sedition”.

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that at a periodic meeting of the Technical Committee of the Security and Defence Council was held Wednesday under chairmanship of the junta leader, the President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and General Commander of the Armed Forces, Lt Gen Abdul-Fattah El Burhan, and in the presence of the military component of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and the leaders of the security and military sector in the country.

SUNA reports that “the Technical Committee reviewed the security situation in the country by focusing on the repercussions of the recent events in Blue Nile state, and the accompanying negative impact of some of what is being circulated through the media and social networking sites, such as the incitement for tribal mobilisation, promoting of hate speech and encouraging violence, a matter which affects the Sudanese national security”.

The committee decided to direct all the telecommunications companies in the country “to immediately stop dealing in sim cards that are not registered according to the National Number and the identity card in all the networks”. The committee warns that “these companies will bear the legal consequences of any violation related to this”.

The committee also said that “judicial and security authorities must take the necessary urgent legal measures against the inciters of racial troubles and advocates of sedition, whether by using the media, the social media, or any other method that affects the social peace and public order”.

Ever since public outrage and resistance erupted following the October 25 military coup, the El Burhan junta has used mobile phone and internet coverage blackouts in an attempt to thwart the free exchange of communication and information among the organisers of mass action.

‘Junta to blame’

Opposition voices in Sudan blame the ruling junta, and SPLM-N Agar, for Blue Nile hostilities

The Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) hold the 2021 “coup authorities” responsible for the crimes that occurred during the clashes in Blue Nile state, Kassala, and in other areas. The Communist Party of Sudan lay the blame at “attempts by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) to seize power and disrupt the fragile peace in the region”.

The FFC-CC said in a statement on Tuesday that “there are historical roots for these violent events, but that they could be ignited these days because of the absence of a national project of the coup authority, which lacks any popular political support”.

According to the Journalists Initiative Against Tribal Violence the fighting in Blue Nile state is the result of widespread hate speech that increased during the past days. In a press statement on Monday, the Initiative said that the authorities should have anticipated these results and taken measures to prevent the clashes.

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