Senegal has cut all internet-based communication as the nation enters its fifth day of protest over forthcoming elections.
Relatives and friends from around the world are unable to contact loved ones because the government has barred internet access in the nation.
In response to “hateful” and “subversive” statements posted on social media, Senegal’s minister of communication, technology, and digital economy stated on Sunday that the country was turning off internet access at specific times of the day.
Internet watchdog NetBlocks has confirmed that Senegal’s mobile internet access has been banned based on traffic data.
The president’s attempt to circumvent the Constitution and win a third term is what is causing the rioting. At least 500 individuals have been detained, and 16 more have died.
Last week, the authorities made an attempt to restrict access to several other social media sites, but many people still had internet connections after using applications to alter their location.
Meanwhile, some family members said they tried to contact their Senegalese relatives when they woke up this morning but were unsuccessful.
“I attempted to call my brother this morning on WhatsApp like we frequently do, but it failed. I sent him a message, but he hasn’t responded,” claimed Cameroonian carpet cleaner Oumarou Adamou.
With everything going on, “we are all concerned about our family over there,” he continued.
Another family expressed concern about their son, who owns a business in Dakar. Amina Nana said, “We spoke yesterday, but he is unavailable today.
However, other families have been able to connect with their loved ones by making normal phone calls, which can be more expensive than using mobile internet.
After opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was given a two-year prison term for allegations that he sexually assaulted a lady at a massage parlor and then threatened her to keep silent, riots broke out in Senegal.
The sentencing, according to protesters, is an effort by the Macky Sall-led administration to prevent Sonko from standing in the presidential election in February 2024.
Following his arrest by more than 500 police officers, Ousmane Sonko’s legal team, led by Ciré Clédor Ly, said they had been unable to contact their client.
Many people are shocked that President Macky Sall plans to run for a third term because the country only allows for two terms as president.
As a management strategy, governments in Africa are increasingly considering shutting down the internet to prevent the dissemination of hate speech and false information.
Following the beginnings of a protest that turned into a seven-year conflict by a group of civil society activists in the English-speaking areas, the president of Cameroon shut down the internet for 240 days in 2017.
Actors and UN partners said it was essential to emphasize that access to the internet is a human right, not simply a privilege, during a discussion on the digital domain in March.
Human rights activists are fighting for peace and the respect of human rights as tensions continue to escalate, particularly in Senegal’s suburbs.
According to Alice Mogwe, president of the International Federation of Human Rights in Senegal, the current situation can be improved with respect for the Constitution, an impartial justice system, and the immediate beginning of a comprehensive dialogue based on respect for human rights that is open to all segments of the country.
According to Mogwe, “it will allow Senegal to re-establish its historically acknowledged stability in a sustainable way.”