The Central African Republic has issued a nationwide ban on text messages after the government learned that protests were being organized that way.
“The use of any SMS by all mobile phone subscribers is suspended from Monday June 2, 2014, until further notice,” the telecommunications ministry said Tuesday, citing a decision by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke, Agence France-Presse reported.
Mobile subscribers in the conflict-torn country who try to send text messages are getting the response: “SMS not allowed.”
The ban comes after days of violent demonstrations in CAR’s capital of Bangui, and a mass SMS campaign calling for a general strike. Mr. Nzapayeke had made an appeal on Sunday for people to stop demonstrating in Bangui and return to work, AFP reported.
The deeply impoverished, majority Christian country descended into religious violence when Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim northern rebels, overthrew François Bozizé and seized power more than a year ago. They were forced from power in January, but the violence has continued, with largely-Christian anti-balaka groups retaliating against Muslims.