Myanmar Govt Cut off Internet Access in Northern Rakhine

Rakhine, MINA – Myanmar has cut off Internet services in eight townships in northern Rakhine state and one in adjacent Chin state, with the ban went into effect late Thursday, according to permanent secretary Soe Thein. Anadolu reported.

The decision was taken due to the fighting between the government troops and an ethnic Buddhist rebel group intensified over the past months.

The Ministry of Transport and Communication directed all mobile service providers to temporarily block Internet access

He said the main reason of the Internet shutdown was to prevent the service from “misuse” by rebel group Arakan Army (AA) — a predominantly Buddhist ethnic group fighting for greater autonomy of the region.

The Myanmar government accused the rebel group of promoting propaganda and misinformation online.

“The ban was to maintain the stability and law and order in these areas,” Soe Thein told.

According to him, the ban is in accordance with the article 77 of the Myanmar Telecommunication Law that gives the ministry, with the approval of central government, to “temporarily suspend services when the situations warrant for the benefit of people”.

“However, it doesn’t include the voice and SMS services,” he said, while refusing to comment on when the ban would be lifted.(R/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)