Internet in Ethiopia hit by week-old cuts

Cherer Aklilu, executive director of the state monopoly Ethio Telecom, declines to give any details to explain the break

Agence France-Presse

Published: 9:01 PM June 18, 2019

Updated: 9:01 PM June 18, 2019

NO INTERNET. Kaleb Alemayehu, the owner of an internet cafe in the city of Adama, southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, checks a computer on April 4, 2018. File photo by Solan Kolli/AFP

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Most of Ethiopia was without internet access on Tuesday, June 18, on the eighth consecutive day of an unexplained break.

An Agence France-Presse (AFP) investigation found that, with the exception of the capital Addis Ababa, most of the country's cities had no internet.

Cherer Aklilu, executive director of the state monopoly Ethio Telecom, declined to give any details to explain the break.

"We expect to release an official statement on the internet blackout before the end of this week and we urge our users to be patient until that time," he told AFP.

Internet access was cut on June 11, briefly restored and then severed again. It was restored for the Addis area on Friday.

The cut is the longest since reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to office in April last year in the Horn of Africa country.

The current break coincides with annual school-leaving exams, which end on Friday. In 2017, the authorities defended a similar blackout by saying they wanted to limit cheating for the important tests.

However, the internet was also repeatedly cut between 2015 and 2017 when the government at the time faced waves of protests. – Rappler.com