By Samantha Netzband
Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter
YAOUNDE, Cameroon– Cameroon has blocked internet access in the North West and South West parts of the country. These parts of the country have been home to anti government protests in the past few weeks. Many feel that the blockages are unnecessary and counterproductive.
Anti government protests in Bamenda. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)
For many, the blockages are believed to target protesters, so they are not able to use social media. Some people with mobile cell phones have also received threatening text messages stating that if they post inaccurate information online they will be subject to excessive fines and even jail time. Cell phone providers haven’t been helpful, replying to customer service complaints that there are other forms of communication available to those who have had the internet blocked.
Because the South West region of Cameroon is a major technology center in the region, some companies have been forced to relocate workers to other parts of the country in order to continue work. While internet blockages have been common for the past 12 months, it is the blockages in the North West and South West, which are mainly English speaking, that have caused protests. These protests have been happening since the beginning of the year and Cameroonians only become more frustrated by the lack of access. Everyone from businesses to activists have been affected by this blackout.
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