Central African Republic Bans Texting

BANGUI, Central African Republic, June 5 (UPI) -- Text messages have been banned in the Central African Republic, with the government citing their use in a civil disobedience campaign.

"On the instruction of the prime minister ... in order to contribute to the restoration of security in the country, the use of SMS by all mobile-phone subscribers is suspended," Abdallah Assan Kadre, the communications minister, ordered. The country's four mobile phone services have complied, and users received the message "SMS (short message service) not allowed" on their phones.

The suspension was motivated by a mass text message circulated by the group Collectif Centrafrique Debout, suggesting a general strike protesting battles between Christian and Muslim militias and demands for disarmament of the militias.

Military action in the Central African Republic has killed thousands since Selekas, northern Muslim rebels, seized the government in a 2013 coup. They left power in January after months of looting and violence that brought international condemnation. Christian militias in the largely Christian country, called anti-balakas, have since retaliated on Muslims with similar carnage.


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