In the midst of Sudan’s ten-month-long civil war, the nation has been thrust into darkness as an internet blackout grips the country. Many fingers are pointing at the paramilitary group engaged in combat against the national army, although they deny any involvement.
According to NetBlocks, a watchdog monitoring internet freedom, Sudan experienced a sudden and severe collapse of internet connectivity, exacerbating an already dire situation. This blackout coincided with a Sudanese hacktivist group’s targeting of Uganda for welcoming the leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
While NetBlocks identified disruptions to internet services in Uganda, including Uganda Telecom and MTN, observers in Kampala did not report any noticeable issues. However, within Sudan itself, citizens have been grappling with an inability to access the internet since Friday, with the situation deteriorating further over time.
Speculation swirls as state-aligned media attribute the blackout to the RSF, while an RSF official alleges that the army directly ordered communication severance in various states under the group’s control, including Darfur, Kordofan, Khartoum, and Gezira.
NetBlocks reported that Zain, one of Sudan’s major mobile operators, was largely offline, citing the challenging and dangerous circumstances under which they operate. Other providers, including MTN Sudan and state-owned Sudani, also experienced significant disruptions.
This internet blackout compounds the hardships faced by Sudanese citizens amid the ongoing conflict. The United Nations has issued an urgent appeal for $4.1 billion to address humanitarian needs in Sudan, where nine million people have been displaced, and 25 million require assistance.
Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, emphasized the critical nature of the situation, urging a heightened sense of urgency in addressing Sudan’s plight. As the civil war rages on, Sudan’s population finds itself grappling with the devastating consequences of conflict, exacerbated by the recent internet blackout.