Internet disrupted in Burkina Faso amid military uprising

Network data from NetBlocks and third-party traffic data confirm significant disruptions to internet service in Burkina Faso on the morning of Sunday 23 January 2022. The incident comes amid reports of an uprising and gunfire at military camps on Sunday morning, and continued until Monday evening.

Authorities initially denied a military coup attempt, however later on Monday state TV announced the resignation of President Roch Kabore and the suspension of the country’s constitution by the army.

The network disruption significantly limited coverage of events on the ground.

Service was restored on Monday evening, with users coming back online met with a significantly altered political landscape:

Analysis of Google Transparency metrics corroborates user reports of a mobile internet blackout, indicating that traffic has been significantly disrupted at national scale from Sunday morning around 10 a.m. VPN services, which can circumvent partial restrictions, are not generally able to work around this class of network disruption.

Earlier this month, internet was cut in a similar manner as authorities made arrests related to an alleged coup plot.

NetBlocks metrics have corroborated user reports of selective service cuts on provider Orange (AS37577) confirmed to be in effect since Tuesday 11 January 2022, indicating the restriction of Facebook services:


What’s happening in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso has faced growing security challenges in recent years, leading to discontent among the public and in the ranks of the military. For several months, authorities have feared that officers may attempt a coup.

On the morning of Sunday 23 January 2022, gunfire was heard from military camps and soldiers dissatisfied with the government issued a list of demands. Authorities stated that they retained control, although the information blackout has continued to limit reporting from Ouagadougou’s largest military camp, Sangoule Lamizana.

A lieutenant colonel and others were arrested on January 10 in relation to an alleged coup plot. Protesters called for the president to take action or resign earlier in the week. The present internet disruptions are understood to be related to these events.

Burkina Faso has previously shut down mobile internet access amid political unrest and the shooting of protesters by a French military convoy in November 2021, issuing two 96-hour long shutdown orders to providers.

What are the authorities saying?

There is no official statement regarding Sunday’s network disruption. On 19 January 2022, authorities admitted that they restricted access to Facebook services citing security concerns. Government spokesperson Alkassoum Maiga said in that instance that the authorities did not have to explain themselves.

Further reading:



Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe privacy-preserving analytics. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations are enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.

This report uses third-party internet measurement data from the “Google Transparency” data source.

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