Somalia Bans TikTok, Telegram & Betting App Over Terrorism Concerns

Somalia’s government has banned the social media platforms TikTok and Telegram, as well as the online betting app 1XBET, over concerns that they are being used by terrorists to spread propaganda.

The ban comes ahead of a much-anticipated second phase of a military offensive against Al-Shabab, the Islamist militant group that has been waging a bloody insurgency against the central government in Mogadishu for more than 15 years.

In a statement, the Ministry of Communications and Technology said that the ban was necessary to “accelerate the war and elimination of the terrorists who have shed the blood of the Somali people.” The ministry also said that the banned platforms were being used by terrorists to “spread graphic clips, photos, and mislead society.”

The army has been waging an offensive against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabab in central Somalia since August last year, joining forces with local clan militias in an operation backed by African Union troops and US air strikes.

Al-Shabab fighters were driven from the capital Mogadishu in 2011 but still control swathes of countryside and continue to wage deadly strikes on civilian, political, and military targets despite the government offensive.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has vowed to rid the troubled Horn of Africa country of the jihadists and is expected to announce shortly a second phase of the offensive against them in southern Somalia.

The ban on TikTok, Telegram, and 1XBET has been met with mixed reactions. Some people support the ban, saying that it is necessary to stop terrorists from using these platforms to spread propaganda. Others argue that the ban is an infringement on freedom of expression and that it will not be effective in stopping terrorism.

Only time will tell whether the ban will be successful in its goal of disrupting Al-Shabab’s propaganda efforts. However, it is clear that the Somali government is taking a serious approach to the threat posed by terrorism.

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