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BREAKING: Internet returns to Somalia after 3 weeks of blackout

Hiiraan Online
Monday July 17, 2017


Cables CGI Computers Ethernet Cable Internet Optical Fiber . FILE PHOTO

Mogadishu (HOL)  - After 23 days with no internet access, Somali’s are taking to social media to celebrate the partial return of internet. The outage affected 11 of 18 Somali regions, including the capital and economic hub

The internet has been down since June 25, on the eve of Eid-Al Fitr, when an anchor from a Swiss-owned, Panama-flagged MSC Alice dragged its anchor through the single fibre cable that provides internet to the Horn of Africa nation.

The Somali government estimates that the country is losing USD$10 million a day to due the outage.

Business, and students have reported disruptions with their daily activities. Classes have been reduced or cancelled altogether at some universities. Other businesses were forced to close their doors or reduce their operations in a bid to save money.

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The manager of a leading internet service provider told Reuters that his business, Somali Optical Network (SON)  is bleeding over a million dollars a day.

Ahmed Ali Dahir, Somalia’s Attorney General has said that his office has launched an investigation into the internet outage.

"My office started an investigation into the ongoing Internet outage. Those behind the Internet outage will be held accountable," Ahmed Ali Dahir, Somali attorney general, told local media.

A select few Somali’s have been able to access the internet through a satellite connection provided by few government offices or hotels.

Suad Rage, a consultant with the Somali government told Hiiraan Online that she had to adopt unorthodox methods to complete daily tasks.

“Working without internet in Mogadishu has been particularly hard, but we’ve managed in our own way. We’ve developed the 21st century ‘pigeon post’ . My colleagues and I have been loading files and messages on USB and ferrying them between offices.”

Ibrahim Ali, a consultant at The Horn Company, said that the internet outage has forced him to move his operation from Mogadishu to Nairobi.

“I tried to tough it out the first few days, traveling to different hotels that offer satellite internet just to fire off an e-mail. I’ve spent more in a week on my phone bill than I spent last month. After about a week, I weighed my options and decided to work from Nairobi until the internet returns."

He added that in parts of the world the internet is regarded as a human right. And that it's conceivable for modern society to function without it. Which has compelled him to travel abroad as an 'internet refugee'.


MSC ALICE. File photo

The ship at the center of the outage, MSC Alice reportedly arrived in Alang, India on Friday, July, 14. Alang is home to one of the largest ship breaking yards in the world. Sources tell Hiiraan Online that the ship will be broken up and recycled. The vessel officially registered as “decommissioned or lost” according to Marine Traffic.

MSC released a statement last week saying: Following reports that an underwater cable was damaged, MSC is investigating the incident with other relevant parties”. The Somali government is demanding compensation.

Before the crisis, Somalia had one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world, with only 1.6% of the country’s total population online according to the International Telecommunications Union.



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