CAIRO – A Sudanese court ordered the country’s three main telecommunications providers to restore internet access, as the country entered its sixteenth day of a blackout following a coup by military leaders on Oct. 25.
While some Sudanese users have managed to find a connection, the blackout has made it difficult for most people to communicate, particularly with those outside the country.
A judge ordered Zain, MTN and local provider Sudani to restore internet service immediately, according to lawyer Abdelazim Hassan, who raised a complaint on behalf of the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society.
The blackout has meant further impunity for attacks in Darfur, said Adam Rojal, spokesman for the Coordinating Committee for Refugees and Displaced People, which records attacks in the region.
At least four people have been killed in more than 10 militia attacks across the region, with more injured and sexually assaulted, he said.
“The lack of internet is allowing them to commit so many violations without accountability. We used the internet to document and report and that would make them a little bit scared,” he said.
The blackout was also affecting camp residents economically by making it impossible for them to request or receive money from family abroad, Rojal said.
The coup, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, halted a power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilians. Top civilian politicians were detained and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under house arrest.
Mediation efforts have stalled, and Burhan has said he is committed to appointing a technocratic cabinet until elections in July 2023.
However, more than two weeks into the military’s rule, while interim appointments have been made, the country is still without a cabinet, head of state Sovereign Council, or key judicial bodies.
Local resistance committees, which have led protests since the coup, are planning another “march of millions” on Saturday under the slogan: no negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy.
Committee members say the internet blackout has made organising difficult, even as they use graffiti, flyers, and neighbourhood marches to get the word out. These tactics had helped bring out hundreds of thousands to the last major march on Oct. 30.