Somalia internet shut down after parliament votes to remove prime minister

Photo/Somali Times

Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm that internet has been cut across much of Somalia with high impact to Mogadishu from 10:30 a.m. local time (7:30 a.m. UTC) on Sunday 26 July 2020. The incident is ongoing as of Sunday evening. Real-time metrics show national connectivity levels at just 30% of ordinary levels, with most impact recorded in capital city Mogadishu. The cut remains in place as of Sunday afternoon, limiting news coverage of events.

Somalia’s parliament yesterday removed prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire from his post in a vote of no confidence. 170 of 178 MPs backed the motion against Khaire citing a failure to transition the country towards democratic elections. However, as the incident continued through Sunday, the European Union and United States Embassy issued statements condemning the forced resignation as a setback for Somalia’s constitutional foundations.

The ongoing incident has nation-scale, non-total impact with indications of an intentional blackout affecting cellular and fixed-line networks. The disruption has not been technically attributed to any international technical outage or cyber-attack.

“After learning that the government had failed in its promise to prepare a clear plan that paves the way for one-person-one-vote elections in 2021 … parliament undertook a vote of no confidence against the government and its prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire,” Mohamed Mursal, the Speaker of Parliament said in a statement to the press. A preliminary analysis of sub-sea cable networks shows no ongoing international cable cut that could cause the disruption. Most, but not all, of the country’s leading business and residential service providers are affected.

Sources tell NetBlocks that the political climate remains unclear in part due to the telecommunications blackout. Somalia’s internet cut follows a multi-week internet shutdown imposed by authorities in neighbouring Ethiopia.

Has Somalia lost internet access before?

A review of historic data shows no record of localized nation-scale telecommunications blackouts since systematic record-keeping began. The country has experienced outages due to international cable incidents, which affect several countries along the east coast of Africa. A sub-sea cable outage affecting a single country, while technically possible, has not been reported in recent years. Further, local calls are also not connecting according to multiple sources.

A number of lesser regional outages in the NetBlocks dataset in 2018 and 2019 are understood to be related to security operations. The impact and extent of the present disruption is notable, as is its timing in view to the constitutional crisis.


NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages generally have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.

A summary of data visualizations used in this report:

Network Connectivity (National): Internet providers and networks serving the affected region are visualized in a stacked time-series histogram to identify the start and end times of an internet shutdown event. Scales on the y-axis are adjusted to match localized maxima while minima indicate periods when networks became unreachable. The x-axis represents Universal Coordinated time (GMT+0).

Standard: Connectivity levels on the y-axis correspond directly to the observed number of reachable connections, as with National Connectivity charts.

Source: NetBlocks