Gambia ‘shuts down’ internet, international call services during election

2 Dec 2016

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh is reported by worldwide press sources to have shut down the international gateway of state-controlled Gamtel on Thursday 1 December, ahead of voters going to the polls in the presidential election that morning. The shutdown reportedly affects all four GSM mobile voice/internet network operators in the country – Africell, QCell, Gamcel (owned by Gamtel) and Comium – although TeleGeography notes that international data gateway licences were issued to all Gambian cellcos in May 2013, whilst Gamtel remains the exclusive international voice gateway operator.

Although election results are expected to be confirmed today (Friday), international connections may not be restored until Sunday, a security source told Reuters, potentially to thwart any opposition attempts to contest the outcome or organise protests/challenges. The autocratic President Jammeh, who seized control in a coup 22 years ago, is seeking a fifth term in office.

Gambia, Gambia Telecommunications Company (Gamtel)