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Starlink internet shutdown in Sudan could devastate millions

Starlink internet shutdown in Sudan could devastate millions www.whoownsafrica.com Starlink internet shutdown in Sudan could devastate millions www.whoownsafrica.com
Starlink has become a lifeline for some in a country where the Internet has gone down regularly since war erupted last April between Sudan’s army and paramilitary force. (Shutterstock/File)

The potential shutdown of Starlink internet services in Sudan has sparked concerns among humanitarian groups and rights organizations, who warn that such a move could devastate millions of people in the war-torn country.

With nearly 100 humanitarian groups issuing a plea to Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, not to disconnect the vital internet service, the situation in Sudan remains precarious.

Sudan has been facing a telecommunications blackout for months, making access to reliable internet services even more crucial for aid organizations operating in the country.

Starlink, the satellite internet service provided by Musk’s SpaceX, has been a lifeline for many humanitarian groups during the ongoing crisis, which the UN has described as one of the largest in decades.

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However, SpaceX recently announced its decision to restrict roaming in jurisdictions where it is not licensed, including Sudan.

This move has raised concerns about the disruption of emergency assistance and humanitarian services to millions of civilians affected by the civil conflict in the country.

In a joint statement, 94 rights organizations operating in Sudan condemned the potential shutdown of Starlink internet services, calling it a violation of human rights and a form of collective punishment that could isolate individuals from their support networks and worsen the already dire economic situation in the country.

In the midst of the ongoing conflict in Sudan, a coalition formed by organizations such as Islamic Relief Worldwide  and Sudan Human Rights Network is calling for the repair of damaged infrastructure across the country.

The situation in Sudan is dire, with over 8 million people having been forced to flee their homes due to the fighting between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudan’s military.

Starlink internet shutdown in Sudan could devastate millions www.whoownsafrica.com
Starlink internet shutdown in Sudan could devastate millions www.whoownsafrica.com

With half of Sudan’s population, a staggering 25 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance, the focus of concern lies on El Fasher, the last city held by Sudan’s military in Darfur.

The United Nations has issued warnings about the escalating violence in the region, stating that countless lives are at stake and that the country is on the brink of a tipping point.

In areas where formal telecommunication systems are not functioning, such as in Darfur, parts of Khartoum, and the Kordofan states, civilians and emergency responders rely on informal Starlink internet cafes to stay connected.

These regions are not only vulnerable to conflict but also face the looming threat of famine, highlighting the critical need for immediate action to address the situation in Sudan.

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