The Cameroonian government has again ordered Internet service providers to shutdown the Internet in the Anglophone regions of the country on Sunday
1 October 2017, and the blocking of social networks in French-speaking regions.
“This Monday, October 2, access to key messaging services such as Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger is still suspended in the Northwest and South West regions (the two English-speaking regions, Ed). Users who have access to these services are obliged to use virtual private networks (VPNs) ” says Paul Joel Kamtchang, Deputy Secretary General of the Cameroon Journalists’ Union.
Yet, in a press release on 28 September 2017, the Cameroonian government, through its Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mrs Libom Likeng, denied allegations of an imminent Internet shutdown.
For Julie Owono, executive director of Internet Without Borders, “The incoherence of Cameroonian authorities is obvious, the reality is contrary to their declarations of good intentions, which are intended to reassure the international community. This new Internet shutdown is contrary to numerous commitments by Cameroon, notably on the right to access to the Internet. In addition, it violates the recent UN resolutions condemning the deliberate disruption of Internet.”
This new Internet shutdown is contrary to the commitments made by the State of Cameroon to the United Nations Organization on 13 April 2017, which established access to the Internet as a prerequisite
to the end of the political conflict between the government and protest movements in the anglophone community. The Anglophone region, which has been in a political crisis since November 2016, was deprived of the Internet for three months from January to April 2017.
“Internet Without Borders is again concerned about this voluntary interruption of access to the Internet imposed to a quarter of the population of Cameroon. The previous network interruption lasted three months, from January to April 2017. It was the longest shutdown by a country in Africa. Its impact on the country’s economy was devastating and had been valued at more than 4 million euros. ” Julie Owono reminded.
The reasons for this shutdown are political. The independentist opposition organized various events in the English-speaking cities of the country on Sunday 1 October 2017.
This day marked the 56th anniversary of the reunification of the Anglophone and Francophone regions,
after a referendum organized under the aegis of the international community.