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Reports of Togo internet shutdown as anti-govt protests intensify

Reports of Togo internet shutdown as anti-govt protests intensify

Protesters taking part in the latest march for political reform, organised by members of the opposition in Togo, are reporting downtime on internet connectivity through mobile network providers TogoCel and Moov.

The protests are reported to have claimed the lives of two people last month and are set to continue this week.

Koffi Inoussa Ayibo, President of Internet Without Borders in Togo says tests conducted today reveal that internet connectivity has indeed been cut off in the country.

"At around 20h UT, many users found that they could no longer access Facebook; and WhatsApp, two popular social networks in Togo. We immediately feared that the two operators in Togo have restricted access to social networks. Only the wired network functioned normally. This morning we conducted connection tests in several parts of the country, and found that the internet is no longer passing on mobile at all, so it was no longer a censorship of certain social networks, but a complete cut of internet access via mobile. On the radio Togolese Victoires FM in Lomé, Gilbert Bawara confirmed the internet cut for security reasons."

Internet Without Borders has since issued a statement condemning what it says is an attack on the online freedom of expression of Togolese citizens.

The organisation has also urged local authorities to use channels consistent with international law to ensure a balance between the protection of freedoms, expression, and the preservation of public order.

"In particular, Internet Sans Frontières draws the attention of the Togolese authorities to the proportionality, legality and necessity of the measures adopted to restrict freedoms in order to protect public order."

There has been no word of confirmation from telecommunication companies said to be enforcing the shutdown.

However, in response to queries about the alleged shutdown on Twitter, Koffi Sodokin, Economic Adviser to the President of the Republic of Togo has, however, tweeted that "There was a violent rain yesterday in Lomé towards Midnight ... the connection works all the same very well. Just that we must love Togo."

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