Shades of Egypt’s Internet shutdown are emerging in the troubled West African country of Cameroon, with MTN having shut down its Twitter service. It is believed the shutdown is at the behest of the Cameronian government but MTN hasn’t confirmed that.
A report by Mohamed Keita, Africa advocacy co-ordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists, cites the events that led to a Twitter post from Bouba Kaele, the marketing manager of MTN Cameroon last week, which read: "For security reasons, the government of Cameroon requests the suspension of the Twitter sms integration on the network.”
The message has since been deleted from Kaélé's Twitter feed, but was picked up by a handful of Twitter users who retweeted the comment and the Cameroonian daily Le Jour, which printed a story.
MTN later confirmed the suspension, but without explanation, simply saying: "Twitter SMS Connectivity Service suspended from March 07, 2011 till further notice."
Keita points out that on 22 February, Cameroonian government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary summoned journalists to his office for a press conference in which he issued a warning directed at Cameroonians in the diaspora using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to call for a march to end the 29-year rule of President Paul Biya.