Sudan: RSF Disrupts Telecom Networks, Compounding Crisis

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
3 Min Read
Sudan: RSF Disrupts Telecom Networks, Compounding Crisis

Widespread disruptions in telecommunications across Sudan have left millions grappling with communication blackouts. According to sources within the telecom sector and state media, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are allegedly behind the deliberate shutdown of networks, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

Amidst an ongoing conflict between the RSF and Sudan’s army, reports indicate that communications have been severed for most Sudanese citizens. Families are unable to reach loved ones, exacerbating the hardships faced by a population already reeling from a protracted war that has displaced over 7.5 million people and heightened the risk of famine.

The impact of the telecom blackout is particularly severe as millions rely on online platforms for essential services such as food purchases, which have now become inaccessible due to the disruption.

Netblocks, an internet monitoring organization, revealed data indicating a complete loss of connectivity for major providers MTN Sudan and state-owned Sudani, sparking concerns about the extent of the blackout and its implications for the country’s already fragile infrastructure.

According to reports, the RSF is demanding the restoration of network services in the western region of Darfur, which it predominantly controls. The shutdown of telecom networks in retaliation highlights the RSF’s significant influence in Sudan, particularly in the capital Khartoum, where it controls key facilities.

The RSF’s actions have prompted criticism and concern, with accusations that the disruption of essential services in Darfur could further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the conflict-ridden region.

Meanwhile, telecom companies have remained tight-lipped about the situation, with neither MTN nor Sudani responding to requests for comment. However, MTN Group acknowledged the outage, attributing it to the ongoing conflict and stating its commitment to resolving the issue swiftly.

The conflict in Sudan, which erupted in April over plans to integrate the RSF and the army as part of a political transition, has resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure and widespread displacement. Both sides have faced allegations of war crimes, further deepening the humanitarian crisis in the country.

As the telecom blackout continues to unfold, concerns mount about its long-term implications for Sudan’s population, underscoring the urgent need for a resolution to the ongoing conflict and concerted efforts to address the humanitarian fallout.


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