Two weeks ago the militant group Al Shabaab ordered that telecommunications companies in Somalia immediately shut down their network of internet service. Operators in the country’s central and southern areas have now heeded the call, and discontinued their services.
Somali analyst Abdi Aynte believes that the move by Al Shabaab is probably one out of fear that the technology can be used to track their movements and top leaders. “The most important one is that they are afraid that this technology will be used to track some of their top fighters as the operations of drones permeate in the areas that al Shabaab controls in South and Central Somalia,” he said.
According to Hiraan Online news site, “residents in these areas reported missing signals even as the militia was spotted checking mobile phones for any internet connections in areas they control.” The website also reports that “Al Shabaab militants also entered telecom companies and ordered them to shut down internet provision.”
The rebel group made the announcement during a broadcast on 9 January 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.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor