Myanmar has reportedly reimposed an internet shutdown in two conflict-torn western states of Rakhine and Chin. While speaking to an international media outlet, Norwegian telecom company Telenor Group said that Myanmar's transport and communications ministry directed telecom companies to 'temporarily' suspend mobile internet services in five Rakhine and Chin towships. This is not the first time that Myanmar announced internet shutdown as five months ago internet blackout was lifted in four Rakhine townships and one in Chin.
According to reports, a months-long internet blackout in Rakhine townships including Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Myebon and one in Chin had been lifted last year in Septemeber amid peace talks seeking to end clashes between government troops and ethnic insurgents.
The recent shutdown was cited as 'security requirements and public interest' for the reinstatement. Myo Swe, an official from the ministry of transport and communications told an international media outlet that the authorities have ordered a temporary halt on mobile internet service as it is presently necessary.
The order of the internet shutdown comes amid the escalating violence. Last month, two women were reportedly killed and several were left injured after Myanmar troops shelled a Rohingya Village.
According to media reports, Maung Kyaw Zan, a national member of Parliament for Buthidaung township northern Rakhine state, said shells were fired from a nearby battalion and hit Kin Taung village in the middle of the night. Reportedly, there wasn’t any fighting, the army just shot artillery at a village without a battle. Zan further added that it was the second time that civilians were killed this year.
The International Court of Justice also ordered Myanmar to take all measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state. More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee northern Rakhine state in 2017 after a military crackdown that the United Nations has said was executed with genocidal intent.
Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf on behalf of the ICJ said that the court "is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable.” The court added that its order for so-called provisional measures intended to protect the Rohingya is binding "and creates international legal obligations" on Myanmar and further ordered Myanmar to submit a report of the steps taken by the country in accordance with the order.