Network data from NetBlocks confirm a significant disruption to mobile internet connectivity in Burkina Faso from around 10:30 p.m. UTC Saturday 20 November 2021 affecting cellular service. The incident comes amid political unrest and the shooting of protesters by a French military convoy on Saturday.
Metrics corroborate user reports of mobile data disruptions on providers including Orange (AS37577). The data blackout is ongoing as of Monday and is likely to limit the free flow of information online and suppress news coverage of events on the ground.
⚠️ Confirmed: Mobile internet has been disrupted in Burkina Faso since Saturday night.
The incident comes amid unrest after the shooting of protesters attempting to block a French military convoy transiting the country 📵
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) November 21, 2021
This class of internet disruption cannot be worked around with the use of circumvention software or VPNs. Fixed-line and wifi services appear largely unaffected by the disruption, although most users are reliant on mobile phones.
⚠️ Update: Mobile internet remains disrupted in #BurkinaFaso as of Monday 📵
Metrics confirm that service was cut ~10:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
The incident comes amid heightened political tensions and is likely to limit news coverage of events.
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) November 22, 2021
What’s happening in Burkina Faso?
Several protesters were injured on Saturday after French soldiers fired shots into a group of civilians, stoking anger against France’s military presence in the country.
Burkina Faso has been facing growing security challenges in recent years. Protesters called for the president to take action or step down earlier in the week week.
What are the authorities saying?
Service providers and the government initially refused to acknowledge the mobile disruption.
However, on Monday 22 November the Ministry of Communication and Relations with Parliament formally acknowledged the shutdown, presenting and order for services to be cut for 96 hours beginning Saturday night. On Wednesday 24 November, the order was extended for a further 96 hours.
ℹ️ Update: Burkina Faso's government has extended the national mobile data shutdown by another 96 hours.
Service was cut on Saturday night and was due to resume earlier today. The information blackout comes amid anti-government protests.
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) November 24, 2021
- Burkina Faso mobile internet disrupted as anti-government protests rage – ITWeb Africa
- Protesters Gather Outside Ouagadougou to Block French Military Convoy Headed to Niger – VOA
- Burkina Faso : Problème d’Internet, mobilisation à Ouaga contre le convoi militaire français – Burkina24
- Burkina Faso Internet Shutdown Curtails Information, Draws Criticism – VOA
- 3 protesters wounded by French soldiers in Burkina Faso – AP
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages may have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.
NetBlocks is an internet monitor working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives to deliver a fair and inclusive digital future for all.
[ press | contact ] Graphics and visualizations are provided for fair use in unaltered form reflecting the meaning and intent in which they were published, with clear credit and source attribution to NetBlocks. Intellectual property rights are protected including but not limited to key findings, facts and figures, trademarks, copyrights, and original reporting, are held by NetBlocks. Citation and source attribution are required at the point of use.