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Unexplained internet blackout in Ethiopia

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Internet services have been cut off in much of Ethiopia’s largest regional state, Oromia, the region’s television network reported on Tuesday.

According to the Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN), the blackout which has lasted some two weeks has affected universities and businesses in the region.

Ethiopia’s internet is in the hands of a state monopoly outfit, Ethio Telecom, the operator has yet to give a reason for the situation.

Internet freedom reports have indicated that much of the country is usually stifled with regards to internet access with the capital Addis Ababa enjoying unfettered access.

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Activists have slammed the government repeatedly for cutting off the internet because they wanted to control the spread of information and materials relating to anti-government protests and human rights abuse.

Ethiopia routinely cuts the internet chiefly for political reasons but also for the academic. To forestall the leakage of key university entrance exams, the authorities blocked the internet in 2016 and last year.

Ethio Telecom was in November last year named the continent’s largest mobile operator. According to IT Web’s report, with over 57 million mobile subscribers as at November 2017, Ethio Telecom had beaten MTN Nigeria to become Africa’s largest in terms of its mobile customer base.
“Ethio Telecom of Ethiopia is now the largest mobile operator in Africa in terms of subscriptions, with 57.34 million mobile subscriptions at end-2Q17.

“Ethiopia is also one of the very few African countries that has not liberalized its telecoms market and introduced competition, so Ethio Telecom has a monopoly,” a sector expert was quoted to have said.

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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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