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Text Messaging Blocked in the Central African Republic

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Mobile networks in the Central African Republic have been ordered to suspend the use of text messages until further notice.

The order was issued by the government earlier this week in what it said was an effort to clamp down on organised protests.

There have been anti-government protests in the country in recent weeks, and there is some evidence that they are being organised through the use of SMS, but a nationwide ban on the service is likely to inflame anger, not quell it.

Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke made an appeal on Sunday for people to stop demonstrating in Bangui and return to work.

The country has been riven by religious civil war for the past year as the previous government was overthrown by northern rebels, who were in turn expelled earlier this year, sparking reprisal attacks by both sides.

A call for a nationwide strike has been sent out, by SMS. However that is not an anti-government strike, but one calling on fighters of both sides to lay down their arms.

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Tags: sms  text message  Central African Republic