The Eswatini subsidiary of MTN on Thursday said access to social media platforms had been restored, more than a week after internet services were reportedly restricted in the country.
“Please take note that as of this morning all social media platforms are accessible. We regret the inconvenience caused by the unavailability of these platforms,” the company said in a statement posted on its social media platforms.
MTN and other network operators in the southern African nation suspended access to social media and online platforms from Tuesday, June 29. This was in line with a directive from the Eswatini Communication Commission as confirmed by South Africa-based MTN Group.
“After accessing the request, and in compliance with MTN’s license conditions and in accordance with MTN’s group-wide digital human right due diligence framework, MTN Eswatini has implemented the directive,” the Group said in a statement.
Eswatini authorities allegedly shut down internet services as a wave of pro-democracy protests demanding a regime change swept through the Kingdom, formerly Swaziland.
The internet blackout was reportedly aimed at preventing citizens from communicating with the outside world amid a military crackdown on the protesters.
The demonstrations had started peacefully but they soon turned violent. Official security forces were unleashed on civilians to crush the protests with videos circulating on social media showing officers fire shots to disperse the large crowds.
The Eswatini crisis has left a trail of destruction. In many parts of the country, government offices, buildings, and vehicles have been torched, shops looted by violent protesters, and dozens of people allegedly killed by the army.
Activists are demanding the right to choose the prime minister, as opposed to the king making such appointments. They also want King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, to hand over power and install a democratic government in the country.
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