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Cameroon’s internet shutdown currently cost €2.69 million

A coalition of rights groups monitoring internet outage has disclosed that Cameroon has lost over $2.69 million as the internet…

A coalition of rights groups monitoring internet outage has disclosed that Cameroon has lost over $2.69 million as the internet shutdown in the country enters its fourth month.

The latest figures were released at the end of March by Internet Without Borders, Access Now and a dozen other organizations in an open letter published in LeMonde.

“Without Internet, many start-ups of ‘Silicon Mountain’ can no longer operate in the city of Buea, banks and money transfer services are idle,” the letter said.

The government ordered the suspension of internet services to the English speaking North-west and South-west since January 17 as lawyers’ and teachers’ strike escalated into violence.

 

The January service disruption, came as President Paul Biya’s government banned the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium and related groups who were organising English-speaking communities in the Francophone nation.

Activists began publicly pressing for reforms in October 2016, led by Cameroonian lawyers, teachers and doctors who said they seek to address the political, economic and social inequality of Anglophone communities, a cultural rift that dates to the colonial era. The rallies and protests led to political violence, deaths, mass detentions and arrests, repression of journalists and other human rights issues. The arrests include high-profile cases of organisation leaders Dr. Fontem Neba and lawyer and human rights activist Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla. Their trials before a military tribunal are set to continue on April 27, in a case that now merges with at least two dozen other detained activists.

Government critics say the main reason for the cut-off is to silence Anglophone populations. The shutting down of the internet Anglophone Cameroon, has brought untold hardship to citizens. Businesses have had to endure loses in billions of FCFA due to the shutdown of the internet, which is the medium through which almost every business transaction is carried out.

Financial institutions, companies, NGOS, and cyber cafes which employ thousands of young Cameroonians are at a loss on what to do since most transactions depend on the internet.

 

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