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Internet Down for Second Day in Mogadishu
Hawala Businesses and Online Media Most Affected
By YAHYA MOHAMED 08/04/2011
Mogadishu Internet Cafe (File Photo)
@Somalia Report
Mogadishu Internet Cafe (File Photo)

The internet has been down in Mogadishu for the second consecutive day greatly affecting businesses and residents that rely on the internet for media reports, electronic mail communications, and money transfers.

The disruption began during the recent fighting with slower than normal internet connections, but has now turned into an almost permanent lack of connection in Mogadishu.

Some of the Mogadishu-based online Somali media outlets have not been updated for the last three days including al-Shabaab controlled and non-al-Shabaab controlled media so neither side has been able to propagate their messages and ideologies.

Cyber cafes and other public places that provide internet also face the same problem. Ali Mohamud, a cyber café operator in Mogadishu, told Somalia Report that his internet providers have not yet explained the problem to him.

“Whenever I call the company officials they tell me that they have a technical problem and they are working on it. I come back to the café after every half an hour just to find there is still no connection,” said Mohamud.

“Every time Bakara Market is shelled the connection goes off. I think the servers have been badly damaged this time,” Mohamud added.

Somalia Report contacted Global Communications, the main internet provider in the city, but company officials declined to comment and asked not to be named. They did say that two day blackout has been a heavy loss for them financially.

Hawala Businesses and Online Media most Affected

The Hawala money transfer companies which heavily rely on internet for transactions have also been affected. The Hawala system has recently stopped using fax communications and transitioned over to online transfers.

Some of the companies have decided to go back to the old system and are now sending and receiving the names of their clients via fax machines. The companies made the decision after their customers became impatient as most of them needed the money urgently.

The internet disruption has also caught the money transfer companies at a time when people are observing Ramadan in Somalia and need more cash to buy goods.

Similarly Somalia has been hit by a severe drought and most of the local citizens require funds to buy food. Donations coming from abroad are all sent through the Hawala companies in Somalia which could possibly delay the humanitarian aid deliveries.

Somali nationals living abroad also send money to their relatives back at home and more so during this holy month.