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28 Jan 2020 | 11:14 PM UTC

Ethiopia: Internet and phone disruptions continue in Oromia January 27 /update 1

Disruptions to internet and phone service in Oromia region continue as of January 27; clashes and arrests reported in recent days

communications/technology
security
ETH

Event

Internet and mobile phone service disruptions are ongoing in Oromia region as of Monday, January 27. According to media reports, internet in the region has been suspended for at least 25 days. The CEO of Ethiotelecom, the only provider in the country, told reporters on January 21 that the company has disconnected service in the are due to peace and security related issues. As of Wednesday, January 29, it is unclear when internet access will be restored.

Security operations targeting political opposition members and supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) have also reportedly increased in recent days. Amnesty International reported on January 27 that at least 75 OLF supporters were detained in West Guji Zone and Horo-Guduru Wallaga Zone. Senior OLF leaders claimed that 59 people were killed during a military operation in Qellem Wollega on Friday, January 24.

Further operations targeting OLF rebels are possible over the near term. Disruptions to internet access and telecommunication services are also expected to continue.

Context

The Ethiopian government cut internet service throughout the country at least twice in 2019. Internet shutdowns occurred during national exams for secondary school students as well as during an outbreak of ethnic-related violence. Former Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebels continue to operate in Oromia region despite the group's leadership agreeing to a ceasefire in July 2018.

Advice

Individuals in the Oromia region are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, avoid any large gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence, anticipate telecommunication disruptions, maintain redundant modes of communication, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities or their home governments.