Sudan‘s telecom providers began restoring mobile access to the internet weeks after service was cut off following a deadly crackdown on protesters.
The country’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) severed internet access after government forces opened fire on demonstrators at a peaceful sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on June 3, killing more than 100 people.
A court-ordered services restored across Sudan on Tuesday after lawyer Abdelazim al-Hassan launched a lawsuit challenging the block.
The restoration, however, was limited to fixed-land lines, prompting the Khartoum-based lawyer to demand it be extended to 3G and 4G mobile services.
“I returned to court and said that numerous clients of Zain and other telecom companies were impacted due to the cut,” Hassan told a news conference.
“Today, the court issued an order to Zain, MTN and Sudani to restore their mobile internet services,” he said, referring to the three main telecom companies operating in Sudan.
Several subscribers confirmed services had been restored on their mobile devices.
“I’m still not happy because this should not have been done,” said Marwa Abdelrahim, a lecturer at Ahfad University for Women in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.
“The government has no right to hold the country hostage,” she added.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allowed Sudanese to mobilise in the weeks leading up to and during the protests that toppled long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.
Though al-Bashir was brought down in early April, protests demanding the military cede power to a civilian-led authority persisted.
“Regarding social media, we see during this period that it represents a threat for the security of the country and we will not allow that,” General Shamseddine Kabbashi, spokesman of the ruling military council, said last month.
But last week, the generals and protesters reached a deal to form a joint civilian-military ruling body, which will install a new government and parliament for a transitional period of three years.
The agreement between the two sides is expected to be formally signed in the next few days.