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Gov’t Shuts Down Internet In Anglophone Regions 

By Basil K Mbuye

Minette Libom Li Likeng

The Government of Cameroon has switched off internet in the Anglophone Regions of Northwest and Southwest in order to frustrate the Anglophone Struggle.

Internet was shutdown in the Anglophone Regions on Tuesday, January 17, at around 7.00pm local time. According to the Executive for Corporate Affairs, MTN Group, Chris Maroleng, based in South Africa, it was due to an order from the Government of Cameroon.

The shutdown came immediately after police arrested two leaders of the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, ACSC, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba in Buea.

In a phone conversation with one Achiri in South Africa, Chris Maroleng pointed out that it is due to Government policy that MTN Cameroon and other mobile networks in Cameroon, shutdown internet in the two Anglophone Regions.

Hear him: “We received an instruction from the Government as part of our licence provisions, because, you know that MTN and other telecommunication providers in Cameroon operate under a licence provisions and the conditions permit the Government to instruct us as MTN to terminate services as they see fit.

Particularly when the government believes that there is some national security concern.

“We received a written instruction from the Cameroon Government saying that we must suspend all internet connectivity in these two regions.” Maroleng explained.

He reiterates that shutting down internet in the two regions is not an MTN decision.

“This is not the decision of the MTN and we did not take this decision lightly.

We (South Africa) come from a country that has gone through a protracted bad history that is characterised by oppression of people and we would not be party or take a decision unilaterally as MTN to effectively suspend services.

“We will not take decisions that will also result in us making losses, since MTN is a profitable company and the only way we are able to provide these services, is if we are able to make a profit while doing it.”

In a related development, regarding the circulation of messages warning subscribers on the circulation of fake news, MTN Cameroon pointed out that it was following instructions from the Government.

“As our principal Regulator, the Minister of Post & Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL) may, from time to time, request telecom operators to carry messages on their networks intended for the general public.

This was the case recently when MTN Cameroon, along with other operators, broadcast a message from the MINPOSTEL regarding the use of internet,” reads part of the announcement.

Regarding the economic impact of this, Maroleng lamented the fact that the suspension of these services will cost MTN so much losses.

“The suspension of these services means that every minute, every hour, the longer the suspension goes on, the more money we are losing.

Someone indicated to me that, I cannot substantiate this; that, maybe, this was a way to even punish MTN because we have been requested to even provide further information to the Government which we did not, because, it is not part of our license conditions.

We can only do things which are within our license provision. We are suffering as much from this decision like other people and this is not in great miles like the people in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon who are suffering right now as a result of lack of internet.”

However, Anglophones in the diaspora are seriously strategising on new means to see that information is circulated to Anglophone brethren back home.

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