CAR suspends SMS amid security threats

Ministry of telecommunications suspends service after a resurgence in violence and tension in the capital Bangui.

The country has been struggling to restore security in the face of relentless attacks between rival militias [AFP]

The Central African Republic has suspended the country’s mobile text messaging service SMS, the telecommunications ministry in Bangui, the capital, said.

In a letter to mobile phone operators in the country on Tuesday, the ministry said they had suspended the service because it posed a security threat.

“The use of any SMS by all mobile phone subscribers is suspended from Monday June 2, 2014, until further notice,” the ministry said.

The ministry said the decision had been made by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke.

Nzapayeke on Sunday had made an appeal for people to return to work in Bangui following several days of protests that had paralysed the capital.

Since last week there has been a resurgence of violence in Bangui, as well as a call for a general strike relayed by SMS in the past few days.

A source in the government told the AFP news agency the suspension of text messages would last “for several days”.

Mobile phone users in the CAR who try to send text messages were receiving the response: “SMS not allowed” from their operators.

The majority Christian country has been struggling to restore security in the face of relentless tit-for-tat attacks between Christian vigilante groups and Muslim-led ex-Seleka rebels who seized control in a coup last year but were forced from power in January.

Source: AFP