Internet Being Restored in Ethiopia

Press Secretary Billene Seyoum (L) and spokesperson of the Primer Minister Negussu Tilaaun, speak during a press conference, in Addis Ababa last week. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Internet service is being slowly restored in Ethiopia after several days of blackout following last weekend’s deadly political drama.

According to network measurement data shared by the civil society group, NetBlocks, connectivity is currently “at 85% and rising toward levels observed prior to the total disruption with wifi hotspots coming online, although mobile data remains unavailable.”

NetBlocks also reports that social media and messaging apps are not yet fully accessible: “Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp web and CDN and some VPN sites are now restricted, with Telegram and YouTube also intermittently down.”

Attempted coup d’état

The Internet has been shut down across Ethiopia in the aftermath of the attempted military takeover of a civilian government in the ethnically delineated Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz regions last Saturday and Sunday.

The attempted coup, the scale of which has not been seen in Ethiopia since the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by a military junta in 1974, claimed the lives of several officials including Ethiopia’s army chief who was assassinated by his bodyguard at his home in Addis Ababa. Other victims included the governor and the attorney-general of the Amhara state, as well as at least 37 other individuals in Benishangul. The Prime Minster’s office said the violent campaign was led by a formerly imprisoned general who was killed amid a fire fight with federal security forces near Bahir Dar on Monday. Since then hundreds have been arrested in a nationwide security crackdown and the director of the country’s spy agency has been named the new head of the national army.

‘Thankfully Prime Minister Abiy escaped’

(PM Abiy Ahmed. Tadias photo)

For many Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia around the world, the tragic turn of events came out of nowhere in light of the hopeful democratic reforms being carried out by the popular new PM Abiy Ahmed who had issued amnesty to thousands of political prisoners last year including the renegade general behind the failed coup.

It was a “shock, but it could have turned out so much worse,” Tibor Nagy, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, told reporters while traveling in South Africa this week. “Thankfully, Prime Minister Abiy escaped this attempt, because there are many, many more people in Ethiopia who support his reforms than those who are opposed to them.” The American diplomat added: “I wish I could say that this is will be the last of these attempts, but no one can be certain.”

‘Internet is back, let the conspiracy theory begin’

“Internet users living abroad rejoiced hearing from friends and relatives for the first time in days,” NetBlocks noted citing Twitter conversations.

“So good to finally get WhatsApp messages from my family and friends in Ethiopia,” one user Kalkidan Mulugeta @Kalkidafrique declared. “No internet in 2019 cannot be the way forward.” She added: “Welcome back though, apparently only WiFi is turned on but we’ll take that.”

Another user Ruhama @ruhama_m_belay deadpanned: “Internet is back, let the conspiracy theory begin #Ethiopia.”

Ethiopian Diplomat: ‘Power in Ethiopia to Come Through Voting, Not Violence’

Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed

The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

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