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Senegal: Govt Cuts Off Mobile Internet Access Amid Deadly Riots

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Govt cuts off mobile internet access amid deadly riots The New Light Paper

According to a statement released on Sunday, the Senegalese government has restricted access to mobile internet services in some locations due to violent rioting in which “hateful and subversive” statements have been uploaded online.

One of the deadliest outbreaks of civil unrest in the nation’s history, three days of violent protests in West Africa have resulted in 16 fatalities.

Last week, the government restricted access to some messaging services, but many people were able to get around the restriction by using virtual private networks, which hide the user’s location. The statement added that the outage was expanded on Sunday to encompass all data on mobile internet devices in specific locations and at specific times.

Five Reuters reporters in Dakar were unable to access the Internet on Sunday afternoon without a wifi connection, a time of day when protests typically start to pick up speed. It was not clear which regions or periods were affected.

The announcement added, “Mobile Internet is temporarily suspended at certain times of the day due to the spread of hateful and subversive messages.”

The popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko’s sentence on Thursday in a two-year-old rape case served as the starting point for the upheaval. He has maintained his innocence and his supporters claim the prosecution was politically motivated.

He was exonerated of rape on Thursday but was judged guilty in absentia of corrupting a youngster and given a two-year prison term. Because of that term, he might not be able to run in the presidential election in February, and demonstrators have heeded his appeal to defy the law.

President Macky Sall’s refusal to rule out vying for a third term has also infuriated protesters. The presidential term limit in Senegal is two.

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