News Alerts

17 Oct 2019 | 07:25 AM UTC

Myanmar: Internet service remains blocked in parts of Rakhine state October 15 /update 13

Myanmar News Alert

Government continues to block internet service in four townships in Rakhine state as of October 15; communication disruptions expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/15/2019, 12:00 AM until 10/29/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Rangoon). COUNTRY/REGION Rakhine, Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U (Rakhine state), Kyauktaw, Minbya

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Event

Internet service disruptions continue in the townships of Ponnagyun, Kyautktaw, Mrauk-U, and Minbya in Rakhine state as of Tuesday, October 15. The internet shutdown has been ongoing for over three months since the Ministry of Transport and Communication blocked service in nine towns in Rakhine and Chin states. Authorities justified the decision after clashes broke out between the military and the Arakan Army (AA), stating that internet service was being used to coordinate illegal activities. It is unclear when access will be fully restored in Rakhine state.

Internet and communication disruptions are anticipated in the abovementioned areas over the near term. Related demonstrations are possible amid a heightened security presence. Clashes between protesting residents and security forces cannot be ruled out. 

Context

Officials suspended internet service in nine townships in Rakhine and Chin states on June 21. Service was restored in five areas on September 1 following a "restoration of peace and stability."

Violence resumed in early December 2018 between Rakhine separatists and the military. The Arakan Army seeks greater autonomy for Buddhists in Rakhine state. According to the Myanmar office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 7500 displaced people are scattered across 29 sites in Rakhine due to the violence and 730,000 people in neighboring Bangladesh.

Advice

IIndividuals in Rakhine state are advised to monitor developments, prepare for continuing telecommunications disruptions, remain vigilant for militant and military activity, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

Travelers are advised to avoid all but essential travel to Rakhine state, except the southern townships of Kyaukpyu, Ramree, Munaung, Toungup, Thandwe (including the tourist resort of Ngapali), and Gwa.

 

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