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12 Feb 2024

The New Arab

Sudan: Following a six days communication blackout, internet access is “gradually returning” amid devastating war

"Sudan's communication blackout ends as Sudani network restored"

Sudani, an arm of Sudanese internet service provider Sudatel, announced it has begun restoring network access across Sudan, ending a six-day communications blackout in the country.

A statement on Sudani’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts said internet access is “gradually returning”.

Sudan began experiencing an almost total internet blackout after the last of its three main providers went offline on 7 February. All three of the country’s telecommunications networks have been largely inaccessible since 9 February.

Users on X have indicated that internet access has returned to several cities including Port Sudan, Kassala and Atbara in eastern and north-eastern Sudan.

Kassem Mnejja, MENA Campaigner at human rights group Access Now, told The New Arab that, “although still at very low levels, the data we’re seeing indicates an increase in traffic levels, and a gradual return in connectivity, mainly in relation to Sudatel".

The blackout posed “serious challenges” to the delivery of aid in the country, Mnejja added.

“Being cut off from family members and loved ones, and unable to check on their wellbeing or whereabouts during an active conflict, has exacerbated people’s suffering.”

It remains unclear who is responsible for the national outage. Some have accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group of engineering the blackout. However, the RSF denied these allegations... 

“Access Now urgently calls on all Internet service providers operating in Sudan to immediately restore connectivity across the country. The weaponisation of internet shutdowns and internet infrastructure during this conflict must not be allowed,” Mnejja said.