CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

10 January 2014

Somalia: Al Shabaab Bans Internet in Somalia

Photo: World Bank
Browsing the internet.

Al Qaeda linked militants in Somalia have given all telecommunication companies an ultimatum to shut down internet operations by January 23 failure to which they will be prosecuted under the sharia law.

According to the militia that rules vast lands in the horn of Africa country, individuals or companies found to be ignoring the order will be considered to be aiding the enemy, a severe offence with dire consequences.

"Any individual or company that is found ignoring the order will be considered to be working with the enemy and they will be dealt with in accordance to sharia law," al-Shabaab said in a statement in the internet.

This is just among the tactics the militia is using to stop spying on its activities and has already been accused of arresting people on suspicion of such offences in the past months.

Among those who have been targeted are smartphone users in the Lower Shabelle region - which the group controls - whom have been threatened with severe punishment if they continue using them.

What is ironical is the fact that the terrorist group has been known to use the internet especially social media having even recently live blogged the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi.

Worse still is the fact the announcement was made on the internet.

Apart from internet the outfit has in earlier occasions banned mobile money transfer which it says go against the teachings of Islamic banking, listening to music, movies, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching football.

It is unclear as to what steps Al Shabaab will take against those who fail to comply though the group is known to follow up on its threats having been responsible for bombing Somalia's largest bank last April.

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