FIVE YEARS SINCE AL-SHABAB BANNED THE USE OF INTERNET IN SOUTH CENTRAL SOMALIA
Author By│Abdikhayr M. Hussein
It is five years since Somali rebel group al-Shabab banned the use of internet through mobile handsets and fibre optic cables throughout Somalia. The ban has been effective in the areas controlled by Al-Shabab in the South Central Somalia where the group has an active presence.
This has unfortunate repercussions for economic, education and technology growth in the areas controlled by Al-Shabab. While the people in the other regions of Somalia has internet connection and use over their phones, Al-Shabab cut off areas under their control from the rest of the country and the world and reducing them to silence. By preventing the public from using the Internet in the areas it controls, Al-Shabaab is launching an unprecedented offensive against freedom of information and there is little progress on lifting these restrictions.
There are several fibre optics cables in Somalia, but in the South Central Somalia where Al-Shabab has presence, has only one cable that is limited to Mogadishu. As Al-Shabab has been losing ground to Somalia’s internationally recognised government troops and African Union peacekeepers, there is little progress on easing restrictions on the internet in the liberated areas.
The Internet offers unprecedented opportunities for the realisation of human rights, and plays an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. It is essential that all actors respect and protect human rights on the Internet. Therefore, I urge Al-Shabaab to lift this ban at once and that the Internet Providers ease such restrictions in the areas liberated by the Somalia’s internationally recognised government troops and African Union peacekeepers.
Article Contributor: Abdikhayr M. Hussein