28 May 2018

Central African Republic: Internet Rollout Defies Worsening Civil War

Photo: Photo ONU/Eskinder Debebe
A military and police patrol in Bangui (file photo).

Bangui — GLOBAL organisations are braving the escalating civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) to provide shared internet connectivity services and security telecommunications across the country.

Under the banner of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), the network of organisations has started the deployment of services in Alindao, Bangassou and Bria, and with the support of Central Emergency Response Funds (CERF) funds.

Its initiatives are mainly focused on improving humanitarian agencies' response to the crisis.

Due to the deteriorating security situation in CAR, the digital mobile telephony system network has been brought down in all the locations where humanitarians are operating.

ETC has completed the installation of shared Internet connectivity for International Medical Corps (IMC), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and OXFAM in Bria.

It is planning to extend internet connectivity services to the UN mission in CAR (MINUSCA) base.

Equipment is hosted at International Medical Corps (IMC) office.

The team expanded the coverage of the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network to cover the whole of Bria.

The UN VHF channel is fully operational.

The next plan is to install another repeater for nongovernmental organisations.

Maintenance of equipment and the VHF network at the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) Communications Centre (COMCEN) hosted at the MINUSCA is now complete.

ETC will train users and radio operators on this new system.

CAR, a country of 5 million people, is overwhelmed by crisis perpetrated by Muslim radicals and Christian extremists.

On May 1, the country witnessed one of the bloodiest attacks in recent times with 15 people including a priest killed in Bangui when gunmen attacked a church.

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