Internet and mobile phone service disruptions have been reported in Oromia region since Monday, January 6. According to media reports, several towns in western and southern parts of the region are continuing to experience service cuts as of Wednesday, January 8. A spokesperson for Ethiotelecom, the only provider in the country, said on Wednesday that the company is unable to comment on the shutdowns but will issue an official statement soon. Unconfirmed reports also claim that there has been an increase in security operations in Oromia region during the shutdown.
It is unclear how long the disruptions to internet and mobile phone service will continue. Further shutdowns may occur with little or no warning.
The Ethiopian government cut internet service throughout the country at least twice in 2019. Internet shutdowns occurred during national exams for secondary school students as well as during an outbreak of ethnic-related violence. Former Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebels continue to operate in Oromia region despite the group's leadership agreeing to a ceasefire in July 2018.
Individuals in the Oromia region are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, avoid any large gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence, anticipate telecommunication disruptions, maintain redundant modes of communication, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities or their home governments.
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