Burkina Faso says it cut internet under national defence provision


Burkina Faso’s government said on Monday it had cut mobile internet access in the country under a legal provision related to national defence and public security.

The internet went out on Saturday in the wake of protests against French military forces and the government over their inability to stop rising violence by Islamist militants.

State security forces suffered their heaviest loss in years last week when gunmen killed 49 military police officers and four civilians near the northern town of Inata.

Frequent attacks by jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have ravaged Burkina Faso since 2017, killing hundreds of soldiers and civilians and forcing more than a million people from their homes.

The government said in a statement that the mobile internet suspension would last 96 hours, adding that fixed internet connections were not affected by the order.

It did not say what specifically had led to the suspension but cited a legal provision related to “the quality and security of networks and services and the respect of obligations of national defence and public security.”

Hundreds of people massed on the main road through the city of Kaya over the weekend to block the path of French armoured vehicles and call for French troops to leave Burkina Faso.

Former colonial power France has thousands of soldiers in West Africa’s Sahel region to battle the militants, who are primarily active in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.