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Al-Shabaab bans mobile internet in Somalia

January 9, 2014 • East Africa, Mobile and Telecoms

International terror group Al-Shabaab has banned the use of internet through mobile handsets and fibre optic cables in Somalia, and warned that telecommunication companies had 15 days to comply with the order.

Al-Shabaab has banned the use of internet through mobile handsets and fibre optic cables in Somalia (image: AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

Al-Shabaab has banned the use of internet through mobile handsets and fibre optic cables in Somalia (image: AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

The rebel group made the announcement during a broadcast on Wednesday by a radio station affiliated with the group, and in a statement issued to local media. “Any individual or company that is found not following the order will be considered to be working with the enemy and they will be dealt with in accordance Sharia law,” the statement read.

The statement went on to detail that mobile internet puts “the Muslim population at a disadvantage security wise, they could be spied on and monitored, while spies transmitted information through using Internet on their phones”.

The group also declared that mobile internet had “adverse effects on the moral behaviour of the Muslim population in Somalia”.

The East-African country has two main internet providers, Hortel Inc and Nationlink Telecom, and neither company has indicated if they would comply with the group’s request.

According to Al-Jazeera, “Al-Shabab has been losing ground to Somalia’s internationally recognised government troops and African Union peacekeepers, but the al-Qaeda-linked group still controls significant part of the country.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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