Al-Shabaab bans the use of mobile Internet and fibre optic in Somalia
Mogadishu (Harar24) – Al-Shabaab movement today announced that it would be banning the use of Internet services on cell phones and through the use of fibre optic in Somalia .
An official statement issued by the Al-Qaeda affiliated movement to the local media today, declared that they decided to ban the aforementioned services after looking into the issue and declared that it had “adverse effects on the moral behavior of the Muslim population in Somalia”. The statement also cited that the use of Internet on mobile phones “the Muslim population at a disadvantage security wise, they could be spied on and monitored, while spies transmitted information through using Internet on their phones”, they further added that the use of Internet on phones aided “the enemy” in targeting and striking the Somali population, and in particular their own members and fighters.
Despite efforts by the Federal government and AMISOM to defeat Al-Shabaab, the Group still controls much of southern and central Somalia. Al-Shabaab is known to have previously banned international aid organizations under various pretexts, including accusing some of them of having spies and working for intelligence agencies based in the West, whom Al-Shabaab deems as its enemy.
Al-Shabaab demanded in the statement that all telecommunications companies in Somalia should stop providing the use of internet services on cell phones and not allow fibre optic to be used in Somalia, despite the fact that they only control southern and central Somalia. However some analysts suggest that this could affect the whole of Somalia (excluding Puntland & Somaliland), due to the fact the main antennas transmitting the signals belonging to the major companies are based in Mogadishu, and those will have to be disabled for the ban to take effect.
The statement also declared that telecommunications companies have fifteen days to take disable all internet services on cell phones. It further added that any company that refuses to comply with the ban would be seen as “collaborating with the enemy, and necessary steps would be taken against them in compliance with the Shari’ah”.
This move by Al-Shabaab comes after several members of the organization have been killed in drone strikes, the latest one which occurred in late October, resulted in the death of two Al-Shabaab members who were believed to be high ranking members of the organization.
Telecommunications companies which are sources of high revenues in Somalia for shareholders and others are speculated to suffer after the ban takes effect.