Mobile Internet services have been shut down in Burkina Faso following increased political unrest and a French military convoy shooting at protestors.

The country cut off connections from around 10:30 pm UTC Saturday 20 November 2021, and services have yet to return. Fixed-line and wireless services, which are less prevalent in the country, are currently unaffected.

The Great Disconnect

The great disconnect

Governments are shutting down the Internet, using digital sieges to quell unrest, and threatening the Balkanization of the web

The national government said that the shutdown was due to national defense and public security reasons and that it would last around 96 hours.

It disconnected mobile services soon after protestors blocked a French military convoy traveling through the city of Kaya en route to Niger. Burkinabe security forces used tear gas while French troops fired warning shots.

Protestors were injured, but it is not known if this was due to the direct actions of the convoy, or from the ensuing panic. Reports claim four people were shot, but it has not been independently verified.

The convoy of around 60 vehicles and 100 soldiers was forced to turn back, returning to the capital Ouagadougou - where it had previously been held up by protests.

Further civil unrest has been mounting in the capital and elsewhere over the government's failure to curb a years-long conflict with Islamist militants that has killed thousands and displaced more than a million people. Earlier this month, at least 53 were killed in a raid on a gendarmerie post in northern Burkina Faso, one of the worst attacks since the conflict began six years ago.

French troops, along with other UN forces, are in the country to fight the al-Qaeda and ISIL-linked militants. But some locals oppose the former colonial ruler's role in the conflict, as well as the wider inability to bring it to an end.

Adding to the problem is the growing impact of online disinformation, which claimed the French convoy was secretly bringing weapons to the militants.

Last week, protestors called for the president to take action or step down.

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