Pretoria - Zimbabwe's largest mobile network operator Econet Wireless has notified millions of subscribers it received another directive to shut down internet access, a move critics say is aimed at stifling criticism of President Emerson Mnangagwa's government amid unrest sparked by a steep fuel price increase.
"At 22:05 [on] 17 January 2019, we were served with another directive for total shutdown of the internet until further notice," the company said.
"Our lawyers advised we are required to comply with the directive pending the courts decision on its legality. The earlier directives are already the subject of a pending High Court Application. We sincerely apologize for all inconvenience caused by the acts of government which are beyond our reasonable control.”
Rights groups on Friday criticised the government of Zimbabwe for the move.
More than 600 protesters have been arrested in Zimbabwe, with state security agents unleashing what critics have called a violent crackdown on citizens who participated in protests triggered by a call from labour federation ZCTU for a three-day shutdown over the 150 percent fuel price increase. The hike has already driven transport costs sharply higher.