As of Tuesday, February 6th, internet connectivity remained in disarray across Sudan. Since Friday evening, February 2, several war-affected states in the country have experienced a drastic drop in bandwidth, exceeding 50%, according to reports from Netblock and IODA, open-source network monitoring organizations.
The Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, engaged in conflict since April, are trading blame for this disruption. The network outage could have significant repercussions for the population.
Among Sudan’s three major operators, Sudatel and MTN were completely offline for several hours, as reported by the American Association of Internet Society. MTN Sudan cited difficulties “related to circumstances beyond its control.”
The exact cause of these disruptions remains uncertain. Digital Rights Lab Sudan, a Sudanese monitoring association, points fingers at the Rapid Support Forces, alleging their involvement in seizing data centers in Khartoum. These accusations are vehemently denied by the paramilitary group.
“This network outage directly impacts our humanitarian aid programs,” lamented the American Sudanese Physicians Association (SAPA) in a statement. Additionally, it affects Sudanese citizens who rely on mobile payment services for their daily transactions.
According to a study by the British development agency FSD Africa, published in August 2022, without access to banking services, Sudanese people resort to informal money transfer methods, including the purchase of mobile phone credits and digital data. This practice has intensified since the onset of the conflict.