Somalia: Federal Govt Urges Telecom Companies Not to Abide By Al Shabaab Internet Ban

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Federal Government of Somalia called on private telecommunication companies to resist Al Shabaab coercion following the ban of internet on mobile phones and through fiber optic cables, Garowe Online reports.

The caretaker Internal Affairs and Security Minister, Abdikarin Hussein Guled on Saturday condemned in statement from his office Al Shabaab's announcement, saying the recent decision by the extremist group shows brutality and intimidation.

"Our constitution guarantees freedom of expression and every citizen has the right to access information without fear," the statement noted. "We will not allow our citizens to be deprived of internet access and smart phones".

In response to Al Shabaab's decree, Guled said: "The Somali Government will work with all telecommunications companies and ensure that they are free to provide internet and other related communications services to our citizens".

Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab group gave the internet providers a 15-day ultimatum and warned the residents in the areas under their control against the use of internet on mobile phones.

Despite anti-Al Shabaab military offensives, Al Qaeda inspired fighters control swathes of territories in southern and central Somalia.