Spy fears: Somali militants ban mobile internet

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 10, 2014 at 9:19 am •  Published: January 10, 2014
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MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia's al-Qaida-linked group has ordered telecom companies to shut down mobile internet services over fears the U.S. can use the data to target militants.

Al-Shabab this week set a 15-day deadline for the telecoms, whom the group accused of being "enemy collaborators." The two affected mobile operators that offer 3G data service declined to comment.

Al-Shabab said the service "corrupts the morals of society" and allows the enemy "to know your movements." Al-Shabab said mobile internet services allowed the targeting of some fighters, an apparent reference to drone strikes or other military operations.

Its statement said the decision comes amid "the spying scandals practiced by the Americans," according to a translation by the intelligence service SITE.

Taliban fighters in Afghanistan also order phone operators to shut down at night over fears the U.S. uses the data to track movements. Extremists in northeast Nigeria followed similar tactics in the early days of a 4-year-old Islamic uprising, bombing cellphone towers to disrupt communications in areas that they were attacking.

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