Niger: internet restored after ten days of blackout

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The Internet was restored Friday evening in Niger after ten days of blackout following the unrest that erupted upon the announcement of the victory of the ruling candidate Mohamed Bazoum in the presidential election on February 21, noted an AFP journalist.

The authorities and the country’s four telephone companies, including a public one, had not provided any explanation for this Internet shutdown which paralyzed communications and financial transactions throughout the country, one of the poorest in the world.

Hours before the internet was reestablished, Ali Idrissa, head of the Nigerian Network for Transparency and Budget Analysis (Rotab), told reporters that Rotab’s lawyer had just lodged a “complaint” in court against this. cut.

The Association of Young Lawyers of Niger (AJAN) also announced that it had lodged a similar complaint with the Niamey Commercial Court.

In the capital, the return of the internet signal was noted shortly after 11:30 p.m. local time. One of the telephone companies immediately sent messages to its customers indicating that the cut was “beyond its control”.

According to their union, the lack of internet has caused the three private telephone companies to suffer daily losses of around 80 million FCFA (over 120,000 euros).

The unrest that followed the proclamation of the presidential results on February 23 left two dead, led to looting of businesses, destruction of infrastructure and private residences, and led to the arrest of 468 people, according to the minister. of the Interior Alkache Alhada.

The victory of Mr. Bazoum, dolphin of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou, with 55.7% of the vote, is contested by the opponent and former head of state Mahamane Ousmane.

The latter proclaimed himself the winner, claiming 50.3% of the vote.

The Nigerien government had temporarily cut social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as text messages in 2015 to contain anti-Christian riots following the publication of caricatures of the Prophet of Islam by the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

These riots had left ten dead in Niamey and churches had been destroyed in several towns in the country.