Internet blackout hits Sudan, leaving millions unable to communicate

Smoke rises from Sudan’s capital in April 2023

The internet is down in Africa’s third-largest country, Sudan, as a civil war continues to tear that country apart. CNN reports:

Internet connectivity was shut down for a third day in Sudan amid ongoing clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that have left thousands killed and millions displaced in nearly 10 months of fighting.

Internet monitoring firm, Netblocks confirmed the outage Friday, saying that “a near-total telecoms blackout” has limited communication in the country and prevented the Sudanese people from seeking safe zones and accessing healthcare and banking services.

The Sudanese foreign ministry blamed the RSF for the blackout which further complicates the dilemma of millions of locals unable to flee the conflict and who the UN says are in dire need of humanitarian aid. The RSF has yet to publicly deny responsibility for the blackout.

The UN on Wednesday appealed for $4.1 billion to meet the “most urgent humanitarian needs” amidst “epic suffering” in Sudan, adding that half of its population – some 25 million people need support and protection, with millions hungry and displaced by the war….attacks on humanitarian workers, facilities and supply convoys have taken place since the war’s outset. Humanitarian aid has been severely hampered by the fighting and lack of access….

Nearly 18 million people are facing acute hunger… with civilian infrastructure like water supplies damaged by the fighting, and three-quarters of health facilities not functioning in conflict areas….19 million children [are] not attending school.

The war that erupted in April 2023 between Sudan’s Armed forces and the paramilitary RSF has created the world’s largest displacement crisis, with children making up nearly 4 million of those fleeing their homes.

In Sudan’s North Darfur Zamzam camp for displaced people, at least one child dies every two hours from malnutrition…The US determined that both SAF and RSF members have committed war crimes, holding the latter responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese have died of starvation during the war. Thousands of bodies were left decomposing in morgues in the country’s capital. At least 50,000 civilians were killed in fighting between Sudan’s warring factions.

Frankenstein’s monster has turned on its creator, in Sudan. Over a decade ago, Sudan’s military created the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a genocidal militia it used to wipe out villages inhabited by some African tribes in Sudan’s Darfur region. Now, this Frankenstein’s monster, the RSF, is beating the Sudan’s military in a civil war, and has taken over Sudan’s capital region, its breadbasket region, and its vast western expanses. The RSF is looting much of the populace, selling the loot at so-called “Dagalo markets.” It is slaughtering males from western Sudan’s black African Masalit tribe. And it is turning some women into sex slaves, while raping others.

Recently, the RSF renewed its bloody mass killings and rapes to drive the Masalit ethnic group from Sudan into the neighboring country of Chad.

The RSF recently slaughtered 1600 people, almost all Masalit, at a camp for displaced people in Western Sudan.

In Sudan, Arab militias such as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are enslaving thousands of black men to be laborers in western Sudan. They are also enslaving lighter-skinned women to be sex slaves, and are abducting women from Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum and rival Arab tribes in north Sudan.

This follows the preference of Arab slave traders in past centuries — to use black men as slave laborers, and lighter-skinned women as sex slaves. Arab slave traders enslaved between 12 million and 15 million Africans. As Wikipedia notes, “between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast of North Africa.” The Ottoman Turks also preferred lighter-skinned women as sex slaves: “Girl sexual slaves sold in the Ottoman Empire were mainly of three ethnic groups: Circassian, Syrian, and Nubian. Circassian girls were … fair and light-skinned…They were the most expensive, reaching up to 500 Turkish lira and the most popular with the Turks. The next most popular slaves were Syrian girls, with ‘dark eyes and hair’, and light brown skin. Their price could reach to thirty lira….Nubian [black] girls were the cheapest and least popular, fetching up to 20 lira.”

The RSF is composed mostly of Arabs from western Sudan. They are fighting the Sudanese army, which is led by Arabs from the north of Sudan near the Nile River.

Slavery is also making a comeback in the war-torn country of Yemen, which is next to Saudi Arabia. The Toronto Sun reports that the Houthis who rule northern Yemen “are enthusiastic advocates for the vile practice” of slavery…. there are 1,800 slaves” taken by Houthi leaders. Asharq Al-Awsat reports that the “Houthis are working tirelessly to restore slavery in Yemen.”

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By GIL