Severe internet outage across Sudan amid reports of Darfur paramilitary attacks

New network measurements show that Sudan’s remaining internet connectivity has been disconnected as of 12:00 p.m. UTC Monday 10 June, amid reports of deadly attacks perpetrated by Sudanese paramilitary groups.

The new disruption impacts Sudan Telecom’s Sudani service, following the loss of Canar Telecom and Mobiltel Zain. Mobile internet connectivity was already largely offline across Sudan since 3 June after attacks on pro-democracy sit-ins in Khartoum, and the new disruptions represent a near-total blackout of connectivity for the majority of citizens.

The new outages come as death toll figures rise, with validated reports of over a hundred killed since the beginning of the month, amid arbitrary violence and predatory attacks targeting pro-democracy demonstrators attending sit-ins to demand a civilian-led government.

NetBlocks has classed the outages as a near-total restriction on the flow of information in and out of Sudan.

Data show that more restrictions are now in place targeting all internet providers, affecting Sudan’s fixed-line connectivity as well as mobile access.

Internet measurements confirm the restrictions are now more severe than those implemented during the rule of ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

More severe and persistent censorship

Earlier this week, the military leadership admitted cutting internet, a practice that had been previously denied, providing additional context to NetBlocks’ incident reports. Emerging reports suggest that citizens have struggled to stay informed, reach safety and monitor extrajudicial killings, gender based violence and other human rights violations allegedly perpetrated in recent days.

On Wednesday 5 June, connectivity with fixed line provider Canar (Kanartel, AS33788) dropped to 40%, knocking out most subscriber connections:

Broadband and LTE provider Canar Telecom experienced a new drop in connectivity at 9:00 AM UTC on Wednesday

The new disruptions come in addition to the ongoing blackout affecting mobile providers MTN, Mobiltel (ZAIN), parts of the national Sudan Telecom Sudatel / Sudani network, and education and research network SUDREN reported by NetBlocks on Monday.

Internet cuts return after Sudan’s uprising

Through December to April, Sudanese ISPs disrupted social media, censored media and frequently disabled nationwide connectivity as protesters took to the streets to drive president Omar al-Bashir out of power.

Access to Twitter, Periscope, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were restored in Sudan on Thursday 11 April 2019 as the leader stepped down following months of intense demonstrations, as show in network measurement data collected by the NetBlocks internet observatory.

During the longest disruption, Sudan cut social media for 68 consecutive days, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp outages beginning 10 AM 21 December 2018 and lasting until February 26 2019, according to NetBlocks internet measurements.

Civil society and technical groups including the Internet Society have called for the restoration of connectivity in Sudan. The availability of unfiltered internet access and an end to political censorship remain essential for a successful transition to a civilian-led government.

Methodology

Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe measurements. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system identity aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and quality in a given country across service providers.

NetBlocks diffscans, which map the entire IP address space of a country in real time, show internet outages corresponding to internet cuts in the region. Purposeful internet outages generally 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 a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.

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