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Sudan restores internet after 37-day blackout

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Friends access internet at a cafe in an upscale Khartoum district in Sudan on June 17, 2019. (Photo AFP)
July 9, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Internet users in the Sudanese capital said on Tuesday the military junta has ended a 37-day online blackout.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) ordered the internet shut down Following the bloody raid on the pro-democracy sit-in area on 3 June.

The blackout drained internal and international criticism but the ruling TMC said the measure was necessary for the national security.

A deal struck on Friday 5 July between the junta and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) provides the swift restoration of the internet service.

But on Sunday, TMC Spokesperson Shams al-Din Kabbashi told diplomats in Khartoum that the service will be restored on two or three days.

The end of the internet blackout coincided with a court ruling on the same day to reinstate internet access in the country.

Lawyer Abdel Azim Hassan, who filed the lawsuit, said in a press statement that the Khartoum District Court issued a final decision to restore the Internet service to subscribers of the company "Zain".

"The court also issued another temporary order to MTN and Sudani to return the Internet services pending a decision on the cases filed against them.

The internet shutdown sparked anger and frustration among Sudanese as access to businessmen said the cut harmed their businesses while and ordinary people said social media platforms were blocked.

The activists and rights groups accused the government of trying to prevent the dissemination of videos and photos showing the repression exerted by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen in the capital.

“The internet shutdown forms part of a larger effort to stifle the free expression and association of the Sudanese population, and to curtail the ongoing protests,” UN experts said in a statement issued on Monday.

(ST)

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