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Internet blackout in Mauritania following presidential election

Internet connectivity yesterday cut off in most of the parts of Mauritania days after the conclusion of the country’s presidential election, a cybersecurity and internet governance company has announced.

“Mauritania is in the midst of a near-total internet blackout following contested presidential elections held during the weekend,” NetBlocks said in a statement.

The West African country joins Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in the bracket of African countries that carry out nationwide internet blackouts for political purposes.

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“Real-time network measurement data provide evidence that the country has been disconnected amid the election controversy, following over 48 hours of widespread mobile internet disruptions,” the London-based company pointed out, adding that the all the local providers were impacted by “a 92 per cent nationwide connectivity knocked out.”

In recent days, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has reported that the country’s ruling party candidate, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, had won by 50.41 per cent. Local police had later raided the headquarters of opposition candidates, in protest at the election result.

Opposition candidates said they were intending to lead peaceful protests to demand the disclosure of “detailed results for the ballot.”

Mauritania has seen several coups during the period between 1978 and 2008 when outgoing incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz came to power in 2009. He was unable to run for a third term in 2019 under the constitution.

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